Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken
The Secret Story of the Second Heroine in Jane Austen's Emma

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Jane Austen's Emma has been a favorite novel for Austenites since 1816. In the mid-1990s it became a favorite movie for millions of new admirers.

A key reason for Emma's success is that the story has two heroines-Emma Woodhouse and Jane Fairfax. In Austen's novel, Jane's backgound is left obscure, and the turmoil underlying her current reduced circumstances in mysterious.

At last we learn her whole story in Joan Aiken's superb retelling of Emma-this time from Jane Fairfax's point of view. When Jane Fairfax was published in hardcover, Aiken's wit, style, and skill prompted Booklist to say, "Brilliant...extraordinarily will done and highly recommended."

This worthy companion to the great original is for the first time now available in paperback.

About Joan Aiken

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Joan Delano Aiken was born in Rye, Sussex, England, on September 4, 1924, the daughter of the Pulitzer Prize winner, writer Conrad Aiken. She was raised in a rural area and home schooled by her mother until the age 12. She then attended Wychwood School, a boarding school in Oxford. Her work first appeared in 1941 when the British Broadcasting Corporation, where she worked as a librarian, broadcast some of her short stories on their Children's Hour program. Aiken also worked at St. Thomas's Hospital, and in 1943 she moved to the reference department of the London office of the United Nations, where she collected information about resistance movements. She worked for the UN until 1949, all the while continuing to write stories. In 1953 a collection of short fiction called All You've Ever Wanted and Other Stories was published. While writing The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, begun in 1952, her husband became ill and died of lung cancer in 1955. After working for five years as a copy editor at Argosy Magazine, and at the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Firm, she returned and finished the book in 1963. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award and was made into a successful film in 1988. In 1969 The Whispering Mountain won the Guardian Children's Book Award, and in 1972, Night Fall won Americażs Edgar Allen Poe Award for juvenile mystery. Aiken is best known for her adult "fantasy" stories. She has received awards for children's fiction and for mystery fiction, and has also written ''sequels'' to Jane Austen books. She collaborated with her daughter to write many episodes of her Arabel and Mortimer the raven series for the BBC. In all, Aiken wrote 92 novels - including 27 for adults - as well as plays, poems and short stories, although she was best known as a writer of children's stories. Joan Aiken died in January of 2004 at the age of 79.
Published March 15, 1997 by St. Martin's Griffin. 256 pages
Genres: History, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Another of Aiken's playful yet hearty romantic fancies, with a cast lifted (respectfully) from the luminously peopled novels of Jane Austen.

Apr 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Jane Fairfax: The Secret Stor...

Kirkus Reviews

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As in her Mansfield Revisited (1985), Aiken (author of over 50 novels, plays, etc.) revisits Jane Austen's lanes and chambers to produce a pleasant, eminently respectable complement to Emma, a novel some Janites consider Austen's Hamlet.

Apr 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Jane Fairfax: The Secret Stor...

Publishers Weekly

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Once again Aiken ( Mansfield Revisited ) playfully recreates the fictional world of Jane Austen by appropriating her characters: Jane Fairfax is the friend and rival of the heroine of Emma . Here, hea

Apr 29 1991 | Read Full Review of Jane Fairfax: The Secret Stor...

Los Angeles Times

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Having enjoyed considerable success with her prior incursion into Austen territory, "Mansfield Revisited," Joan Aiken returns to Highbury, the tiny rural village where Emma and Jane grow up as friends and rivals.

Aug 23 1991 | Read Full Review of Jane Fairfax: The Secret Stor...

London Review of Books

It wants to be both like Jane Austen (to substitute for the real thing) and to revise Jane Austen (to be a real thing itself).

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