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Jane Austen's Best Friend (Hardback)

The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd

British History P&S History Social History Women of History Georgian Era Biographies 19th Century 18th Century

By Zoë Wheddon
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526763815
Published: 28th February 2021

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RRP £19.99

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All fans of Jane Austen everywhere believe themselves to be best friends with the beloved author and this book shines a light on what it meant to be exactly that. Jane Austen’s Best Friend; The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd offers a unique insight into Jane’s private inner circle. Through this heart-warming examination of an important and often overlooked person in Jane’s world, we uncover the life changing force of their friendship.

Each chapter details the fascinating facts and friendship forming qualities that tied Jane and Martha together. Within these pages we will relive their shared interests, the hits and misses of their romantic love lives, their passion for shopping and fashion, their family histories, their lucky breaks and their girly chats. This book offers a behind the scenes tour of the shared lives of a fascinating pair and the chance to deepen our own bonds in ‘love and friendship’ with them both.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was such an interesting and informative read. The author has obviously researched the subject matter thoroughly. This was an in-depth and insightful look at Jane Austens relationship with her very good friend Martha . I actually found it especially enlightening as a lot of biographies concentrate on the relationship between Jane and Cassandra. You get a real sense of the vibrancy of both women's personalities and the vitality of spirit they share.
I actually read this in one sitting and was surprised when I'd actually finished it . It's a very enjoyable read and I thoroughly recommend it.

NetGalley, Ann Jones

What a great book. Learned quite a bit about Jane Austen's BF. Will recommend this to others..

NetGalley, Cyn Farabee

Reading this book is almost like being transported to the time of Jane Austen. Martha must have been a good friend to have stayed close for so long-to Jane. Try this one as it is worth the time.

NetGalley, Brenda Burke

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I found this book fascinating. It was written in a scholarly but accessible way, immaculately researched and gave lots of insight and detail into the relationship of Jane Austen and her closest friend Martha Lloyd. I enjoyed the way it was structured to look at different aspects of the friends ' relationship through the lens of writing, family, fashion, society and other approaches. Entertaining, illuminating and full of interesting historical information, this was a very enjoyable read.

NetGalley, Nicola Cornick

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My life is richer after reading this thought-provoking book. We have been given a wonderful glimpse into a bygone age through best friends Jane Austen and Martha Lloyd. They shared a friendship that we all wish for in a lifetime. We learn about their intertwined lives which helped mould Jane Austen's personality and writing.. I particularly liked how laughter and wit was part of her and her books..It is still a mystery why Jane was always matchmaking in her fiction but did not manage to find an eligible suitor for herself.. This is an extremely well-researched book and is an excellent best friend for all who study or admire Jane's work.

NetGalley, LOIS ELIYAHU

We’d all love to be Jane Austen’s best friend. Zoe Wheddon’s brilliant new book shows with authority and insight how the position was firmly taken. Martha Lloyd truly comes to life in this excellent biography of Jane Austen’s best friend.

Dr. Paula Byrne, author of The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things.

At last - a delightful book about the often overlooked relationship between Jane Austen and her live-in best friend, Martha Lloyd. Zoe Wheddon cleverly knits fact, fragments from letters and diaries and family lore to paint a fun-loving pair who, with the other Austen ladies, combined their resources to promote each other’s comfort, creative endeavours and well-being. If you wish to know and experience Austen in a whole new way - through the eyes of an intimate friend - then read this book.

Rose Servitova, author of The Longbourn Letters and The Watsons

A glorious celebration of Jane Austen, and a glorious celebration of friendship too. You'll want one copy for yourself and another for your own BFF.

Lucy Worsley, historian, television presenter and author of Jane Austen at Home

This is a very interesting book, about the friendship between Jane and Martha. I learned a lot more about the two of them.

NetGalley, Sheila Treacy

About Zoë Wheddon

A native of Jane Austen's beloved county of Hampshire, I have been married to Matt, (a stationery salesman, who keeps me supplied with post-it notes and gorgeous notebooks) for 30 years. We live in a North Hampshire village, on the outskirts of the town that we both grew up in, with our three grown up children and our cat Princess Leia. 


A perfectly imperfect local historian and aspiring writer, as the writer of my blog I write articles and book reviews on matters relating to friendship, self-compassion and personal development at mrswheddon.wordpress.com. 


When I am not researching or writing I can be found in the classroom teaching Spanish and French or singing ABBA songs loudly in my kitchen.

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