'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 4 May 2019

Review: Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

In Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper, the life of the classic novelist is brought to life in a graphic novel imagining.

This is a translation, by Matteo Benassi, of the work by 'Italian illustrator and comic artist' Manuela Santoni.

Black and white drawings introduce us to a young Jane Austen, who hates embroidery, but enjoys spending time with her sister Cassandra.

Her Heart Did Whisper travels through Jane's life as she writes to her sister, reminiscing about her life.

Allowed by her father to spend time in his library, Jane feels her heart stirred by the books and freedom of learning, and begins writing her own stories.

She falls in and out love, and her writing becomes her great passion, with Jane the writer acclaimed amongst her family and friends.

The story suggests the interweaving of real events from Jane Austen's life, with the fictional plots and characters of her novels.

At the conclusion of the graphic novel, Manuela Santoni has included notes about Jane Austen's life, under headings including Life and home, Burned letters and Tom Lefroy, Social lives and class struggles. This is informative about the influence of her speculations in the story.

A Jane Austen timeline, included at the end, is also a helpful reference for placing events and publication of Jane's novels.

Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper shouldn't be taken as a completely factual depiction of Jane Austen's life, however it is an entertaining introduction and may encourage further exploration of her life and its influence on her work. 

Title: Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper
Author and illustrator: Manuela Santoni 
Publisher: Graphic Universe, $16.99
Publication Date: November 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781541526433
For ages: 13+
Type: Graphic novel