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Jane Austen's Best Friend (ePub)

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 Zöe Wheddon
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 28.8 MB (.epub)
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781526763822
eBook Released: 18th May 2021


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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.

Featured in

Hampshire Living Magazine - North Hampshire June Edition

Featured in Basingstoke Gazette

Basingstoke Gazette

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a super fun read. I really enjoyed this one!

NetGalley, Amanda Driver

A unique and impressively informative contribution to our understanding and appreciation of the life and times of Jane Austen, "Jane Austen's Best Friend: The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd" is an extraordinary accomplishment and must be considered essential reading for all Jane Austen scholars and fans.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

Zoe Wheddon provides an idyllic portrait of friendship. It is a really pleasing book. It is thoroughly researched and referenced.

Jennifer Walton Chair - Jane Austen Society Midlands

This is a well-researched book, with references to Austen’s letters, novels and biographies of other authors. It’s also beautifully produced and there are some good photographs. I found much to appreciate.

JA group Bath & Jane Austen at Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution

The book was such an enjoyable read, I was able to just lose myself in the wonderful world of Jane Austen and Martha Lloyd. There were so many themes in the book I loved, all of them providing a great insight into how Martha encouraged Jane's sense of humour and freedom of spirit often reflected in her writing.

Read the full review via Instagram

Instagram, @historianellis

The author demonstrates how important a friend can be in supporting and helping us to achieve our goals in life. A truth as relevant today as it was in centuries past.

I very much enjoyed reading this book and would happily recommend it to others.

Jane Austen Society Scottish Branch

In this book, Zöe gives us gorgeous insight into the world of Jane and Martha and reminds us what real friendship is. The chapters are arranged thematically and cover a range of subjects, from fashion to love; all the things best friends love to discuss most. The writing style really draws you in and makes you feel as if you're included with the pair. The social history aspect is also really interesting. It's a period of time I love.

The perfect non fiction read. Now I read to go Bury my head in some Jane Austen novels and give my best friend a call.

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Instagram, @perhapsiwillread

This was a great insightful biography and writing from the friendship perspective felt fresh. The writing was detailed and so I chose to read this over a number of days and enjoyed that approach. This is definitely a book that will thrill Austen lovers.

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Instagram, @bookphemomena

The research that has gone in to this book must have taken such a long time and it really shines through - at various points I was so surprised at the level of detail and insight in to Jane and Martha’s lives! ⁣
It is down to all of the details that the characters really came to life for me - I feel like I know them now! To get this up close and personal to someone I admire so much is a real treat. ⁣

It’ll make you think of your own best friend and it’s very relatable. ⁣

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Instagram, @bookish_book_bish

Martha Lloyd is having her moment in the spotlight at last! Who was this woman? After all, she was BFF to the woman who graces our ten pound notes…

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Instagram, @natalieisahistorybuff

The book has clearly been very well researched and for fans of Jane it’s great to see another side of her and learn more about her!

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Instagram, @whatkatyreadnext

Zöe Wheddon's charming narrative is thorough in its detail and delightful in its execution: my favourite passages included the modern corollaries of Jane and Martha's everyday life, i.e. listening to Jane read was like getting an audiobook as 'read by author'.

Martha Lloyd is having her moment in the spotlight at last! Who was this woman? After all, she was BFF to the woman who graces our ten pound notes...

Read the full review here

Natalie is a History Buff

Zoe has written such a stunning book about Jane Austen and her best friend Martha Lloyd. You really feel like you've been taken back in time and can just imagine sitting there with the two of them having a gossip and a cup of tea. You can clearly see where Martha's influence has come into Jane's writing and it makes me want to go back and re read some of her books to see if I can spot where! For all Jane Austen fans this is absolutely a must read and the thought, attention and research that's gone into the book is amazing.

5 🌟 would highly recommend!

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Instagram, @c_h_a_p_t_e_r_o_n_e

As well as learning more about our beloved Jane, Wheddon gives us dip into what life was like in Georgian England, from balls to fashion to travel and to family life. I always love learning about the past and this was just so interesting and fun to read about... Wheddon’s meticulous research has really shone through and we have a new insight to brilliant life and mind of Austen and we have the chance to feel like we are Jane’s best friend too. I recommend this to any Jane Austen fan who like me wants to know everything there is to know about our beloved Austen.

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Instagram, @bibliophilethea

There is great depth of knowledge and research that has gone into this book. It is an excellent addition to the Jane cannon and a must read for any Janeite.

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Instagram, @travels.along.my.bookshelf

Zoe Wheddon has done such a wonderful job at researching Jane & Martha’s friendship. I can only imagine how long this project must have taken! For anybody that is an avid Jane Austen fan, I highly recommend this book as it certainly makes you feel that step closer to understanding what life may have been like as Jane Austen’s best friend.

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Instagram, @booksandlilly

The author’s love of Jane Austen is obvious through the pages, and I think this book will strengthen the love of its readers for her too.

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Instagram, @mytreasureinbooks

First of all, the cover of this book is so appealing. It made me want to open the book and spend time reading it. Then, of course, it is intriguing to think about getting to know a friend of Jane’s. Isn’t that just who all of her readers would like to be?

In this title, Jane’s friendship with Martha Lloyd is explored. Those looking to become better acquainted with Jane, her world, her interests, and the people to whom she felt close, will enjoy taking a look at this title. Chapters include Fun and Frolics; Home Sweet Home; Our Chawton Home; Anything You Can Do, and more.

The author clearly cares deeply abut her subject.

NetGalley, Joyce Laudon

I love anything to do with Jane Austen. She has been one of the reasons I have loved reading since a young age and I have always admired her. This book made me feel closer to Jane than any other book has before. Wheddon has researched thoroughly through old letters of Jane’s and the people around her for you to see how witty and full of life she was. It has made me feel connected to Jane and I have learnt so much about her and of course her relationship with her wonderful best friend Martha.

You never hear much about Martha so to read all about this amazing lady was so insightful and intriguing. I loved reading snippets of the funny letters that Jane wrote to her and it is obvious just how close the pair were. You get to explore their friendship throughout from their love of fashion to family dramas and local gossip. Its a pure delight to read.

I highly recommend this to all fans of Jane. It will make you think about your own friendships and make you realise how grateful you are to have such wonderful people in your life. It certainly did for me.

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Instagram, @bookishreadsandme

For all you Jane Austen fans out there, you’ll be thrilled to know that we have been treated to another account of the writer’s life, this time focusing on her pivotal friendship with lifelong pal, Martha Lloyd in Zoe Wheddon’s non-fiction offering: ‘Jane Austen’s Best Friend’... Above all, it helps us to reflect on the importance of friendship and female bond as a whole: for Jane Austen, who sadly never found love before her young death, this friendship was crucial.

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Instagram, @youcantbeatagoodbook

I highly recommend this most diverting book to any Janeite or anyone who’s ever known the joys of having a best friend.

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Instagram, @faeryjess

This book is an enchanting account of Jane’s life through her friendship with Martha who loved and understood her maybe better than anyone else. This book should be on any Jane Austen fans spring reading list.

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Instagram, @what_the_austen

This was a really interesting book, and once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. A must for any Austen fan. Thanks to Zoe Wheddon for such an enlightening book.

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Instagram, @lovebritishhistorypics

I think this was clearly researched amazingly and was written very beautifully. If you’re a Jane Austen fan and want to learn more about her life and how she became the great writer she was, definitely give it read!

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Instagram, @charlottereadsx

This is the perfect book for the Austen fan in your life.

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Instagram, @otterly_bookish

This book was such a wonderful insight into her life via the lens of her best friend. If you’re looking to learn more about Jane, this should be your go to source!

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Instagram, @rainy.reads

The love and friendship between Jane and Martha is written so beautifully and I thoroughly enjoyed discovering Martha and how her place in Jane’s life influenced the stories I love so much. This is a must read for any fan of Jane Austen.

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Instagram, @pawswithprose

I found Jane Austen's Best Friend a really enlightening and interesting read. I knew so little of the friends in Jane's life and actually I didn't realise just how little I knew overall. Jane Austen fans will enjoy this new perspective on Jane's life and her best friend Martha.

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Instagram, @laurapatriciarose

I would recommend this book to any fans of Jane Austen’s books, it’ll give you a new insight into her life and work

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Instagram, @what_rosie_read

... Wheddon has performed a valuable service in rescuing the admirable Martha from obscurity and throwing fresh light onto Jane Austen’s personal life.

Jane Austen Society, Kent branch

Books WE Love: Our top recommendations for fans of non-fiction

The People’s Friend (Special), May 2021

Should you desire to increase your Jane Austen knowledge, look no further than this volume; with countless excerpts and paper proof, and unlimited imagination of the “what ifs”, Jane Austen’s Best Friend is your all-encompassing tome of the fact and fable of the friendship of Jane Austen and the true and loyal companion she valued above all: Martha Lloyd.

Read the full review here

The Paperback Collector

Author guest post and Q&A featured on The Magic of Worlds

The Magic of Worlds

Zoe Wheddon is clearly passionate about this subject and she has researched it in immaculate detail. She writes well and her observations are interesting.

Read the full review here

Portable Magic

If you are an Austen fan, even if romance is normally your thing–I implore you to stop what you’re doing and give this book a shot. I feel like it explores a little more of the mystery of who Jane was.

A lovely book, from a talented author, regarding a legend… What more could anyone possible want?

Read the full review here

Captivated Reading

For Austen aficionados however, Jane Austen’s Best Friend offers an interesting new way of navigating well-trodden territory, spotlights an overlooked figure within Jane’s life (and an interesting woman in her right!) and convincingly argues that we should consider the lasting influence of such a significant friendship when we read and appreciate Jane Austen’s work.

Read the full review here

The Shelf of Unread Books

Author guest post featured on Carole's Book Corner

Carole's Book Corner

Author guest post featured on Gina Rae Mitchell

Gina Rae Mitchell

This extract takes us back to the very beginnings of Jane and Martha’s friendship and the very start of Jane’s writing too. It is a symbolic moment, one where Jane and Martha began to weave both their personalities and their preferences, their talents, and their time into their friendship.

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Lisa's Reading

I recommend this book for anyone who has a deep love of Jane Austen’s work and wants to know about the friendship that influenced her writing.

Read the full review here

Rev. Rebecca Writes

Lovers of Jane Austen will relish this uplifting insight into her life, close circle and times, her works and society in which she lived. A delightful treat for all Austen fans!

Read the full review here

Chez Maximka

An absolute must for any Jane Austen fan.
This is a beautifully written, carefully researched account of a somewhat overlooked figure in literary history.

Read the full review here

Books Are Cool

This is a well-researched biography of Martha Lloyd, a close friend and confidante of Jane Austen. It’s informative yet lively writing style brings characters and events to vibrant life.

Read the full review here

Jane Hunt Writer

This is a well researched and detailed look at Jane Austen's domestic life. Marriage is at the heart of Jane's writing and, as this book demonstrates, it was central to the lives of Jane's contemporaries.

Read the full review here

Books Life and Everything

Author guest post featured on Touring Tale

Touring Tale

Calling all Jane Austen’s fans everywhere.
This book is a must read for all Janeites.
If you are ever want to dig deeper and into the more personal aspects of the life of Jane Austen whose beloved books have stood the test of time, then this is exactly what you need.

Read the full review here

Nurse Bookie

In summary, I thought this book was well-researched, and there were some interesting quotes in there that I enjoyed reading.

Read the full review here

Babblings of a Bookworm

Author guest post & Q&A featured on B For Book Review

B For Book Review

This book really explores the friendship in detail and is very well written. The book is very detailed and educational on how this friendship possibly affected the way that she wrote. It gives the reader a great insight into how different her writing would have been if she did not have this friendship.

Read the full review here

Lemon Nail Fiend

When reading Jane Austen, sometimes her words feel like you're having a discussion with a best friend about the world around you. The new book by Zoe Wheddon explores the life and influence of Jane's best friend Martha Lloyd. Jane Austen's personal life is often spoken about, but the actual proof and letters are very restricted thanks to her sister Cassandra making sure to burn some of the evidence. This book, however, puts the focus on the oft overlooked Martha Lloyd and her qualities. It explores their common interest, their goals, and in turn reveals quite a bit about Jane Austen in the process.

Jane Austen's Best Friend: The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd is a must read for fans of Jane Austen and those interested in finding out more about the life behind the published pages.

NetGalley, Victoria Irwin

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An engaging and fascinating dive into the patterned and sensory world of female friendship in that era, especially because it takes us to a whole new place we never before envisioned. We see a friendship of a 'second sister' that doesn't quite compete with Jane's relationship with Cassandra, but needlepoints its own design in friendships of the day. I loved it for that rush of novelty, in bringing us into a friendship between women with a notable age difference. And where we are very used to studies of the people around Austen and the Brontes, this one delivers fresh energy. Very enjoyable.

NetGalley, Sharon Toris

As a Jane Austin fan I really enjoyed reading about her friendship with Martha. Learning about Martha’s influence over Jane and their overall relationship really interested me. Well written and researched I will be recommending this book.

NetGalley, Abby Siverman

A book exploring in detail the relationship between Jane Austen and her best friend Martha Lloyd.
The author's research is meticulous and opens up to us a glimpse into the relationship of such close friends and we see the influence Martha had on Jane despite a ten year age difference.
Quick and enjoyable read.

NetGalley, Deanne Patterson

I really did enjoy it! It gets better as it goes. It is very informative. I did enjoy reading about Jane's sense of humor, and also more about Martha, much of which I didn't know previously.

NetGalley, Jennie Webb

In the book under review, Zöe Wheddon has produced a comprehensive and thoughtful biography of Jane Austen’s friend Martha Lloyd (1765-1843). Wheddon has drawn, largely from Austen’s surviving letters, a surprisingly detailed and nuanced portrait of Martha, who comes across as practical, sympathetic, and versatile...

... Overall, Zöe Wheddon has done Austen readers a great service with this book.

Judith Stove, author of Jane Austen’s Inspiration: Beloved Friend Anne Lefroy, Pen & Sword, 2019

As a huge Jane Austen fan I quickly devoured this book to find out more information about Jane's best friend Martha Lloyd. It's very hard to find a new spin or facts that Janeites won't already know but Zoe Wheddon does a cracking job in her fun book recreating Austen's world and the importance of the friendship between the two women. It's light-hearted and heart-warming, featuring their love lives, delight in shopping and shared interests, despite Martha being ten years older than Jane.

NetGalley, Penelope Jenkins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was a good fit for me!!! I really love reading Austen and reading about Austen. I would recommend this one to anyone with similar taste. Love reading Austen's novels? Love reading about Jane Austen? Love the Georgian/Regency time period? Love history? This one may be for you.

NetGalley, Becky Laney

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fans of Jane Austen throughout the world 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.

Martha was one of a very minimal number of people who heard and was present at the inception of the unfiltered versions of Jane Austen’s writing, her writing in its purest of forms, saying exactly what she wanted to say, about whom she wanted to say it and using the exact language that she wanted to use.

Every chapter in Jane Austen’s Best Friend details the fascinating facts and friendship forming qualities that tied Jane and Martha together. In these pages we will learn 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.

If you are looking for 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.

Jane and Martha had a friendship that went more than skin-deep. Together they shared hopes, and dreams.

If you are looking for a unique, well researched biography, I’d recommend Jane Austen’s Best Friend!

Five out of five star!

Happy Reading!

NetGalley, Michelle Kidwell

It's an enjoyable book for any janeite out there. It's well written and you can start and finish it without even realizing it. I really enjoyed reading about the friendship of this two Regency women, as well as the in depth information provided.

NetGalley, Aure Runya

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Who doesn't like Jane Austen and don't want to learn more about her life and what or who inspired her in her daily life for her writing?
I have watched many documentaries about J.A but her relationship with Martha Lloyed was absent. This book made me discover more about Jane, her character and how much she valued a real good friendship. I have to be honest, I had no idea about who was Martha to Jane. I always believed that her best friend was her sister Cassandra. Through my reading of this book, I discovered Martha and I learnt more about Jane Austen's personality and how she really was in her life. It wasn't that sad maiden who suffered an heartbreak in her prime youth which led to her grief in finding love and to have a second chance or her continual fight for a stable financial life like many portrayed her.

Jane loved Martha and made her life much more interesting. Martha also played an important role in Jane's life as an authoress. We learn that in Jane's life love came really after friendship and family. This book was about how a true friend can have an impact on your life and your dreams. Some people live their whole life through and never find a friend like Martha or Jane.

Martha was Jane's BFF as we call it today and vice versa but they weren't alaways glued to each other, each one respected the privacy, interests and tastes of the other. Martha had a scientific mind with her love for plants and animals. We learn about her well-known recipe for ink which was a real gift for a friend who was an author.

At the end, Martha's life had a beautiful happy ending like the heroines of her best friend's books. Jane, before she died, tryed to help in the fulfilement of a second chance in happiness for her best friend with her brother.

This book was a work of research and hard work. I loved it and I respect the author's efforts. Thank you for this beautiful story about a true friendship.

NetGalley, Misa Wadoud

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wheddon's debut provides a fascinating glimpse into a rarely-explored but key relationship in Jane Austen's life, that of her lifelong friendship with Martha Lloyd. The author brings almost forensic energy to examining the small but pivotal moments, mutual humour and sensibility, and essential candour that define friendship as a whole, and that were critical to the happiness and satisfaction of Austen in particular. Heartfelt, thought-provoking and wise, Jane Austen's Best Friend: The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd is a powerful testament to female friendship, its effect on genius, and the confidance and confidence it can inspire. We might not know of Martha Lloyd today without Jane Austen, but Wheddon makes a very strong case that we wouldn't have the literary genius we know and love without Martha Lloyd.

NetGalley, Natalie Jenner

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was fascinating and delightful. I highly recommend this book to any Jane Austen fan!

NetGalley, Jessica Murdock

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

I had a blast reading this! I learned so much and now I want to learn more about Jane Austen's life!

NetGalley, YY Huang

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Friendship, beautiful and pure friendship is the main subject of this book. The author discusses what being a best friend really means, one you can share every bit of your life with, hysterical laughter which no one else understands to knowing how to help through sorrow to trust to discussing topics openly without judgement. Jane and Martha had a long and spectacularly close friendship, though Martha was ten years older than Jane. It made no difference whatsoever in their relationship. I have had the pleasure to visit Jane Austen territory and this book confirmed what I thought (and hoped!) of Jane's personality, thankfully, and gave me insight into Martha and her relationship with Jane.

When the two were separated geographically, their friendship grew even deeper. They visited whenever possible and eventually did live with Jane's family after Mr. Austen's death. Martha wasn't an intrusion whatsoever but her stalwart Christian beliefs, lovely personality, kindness and practical side endeared her to everyone. Cassandra and Jane's sister relationship was as close as can be and with Martha had a very tight bond. Martha's encouragement, comfort, ease of laughter and peacefulness contributed to Jane's writing. I did not realize her profound impact! They stuck together through everything, absolutely everything. They both loved many of the same things such as walking, fashion, dancing, nature and chatting but did have differences which meant they maintained their independence. The author goes on to describe both of their lives and those around them, the joys and the pains.

What resonates with me most is the depth of this precious friendship. It's breathtaking. The photographs are interesting, too.

Jane Austen fans will happily devour this different slant of information about our beloved author and dear Martha. We get glimpses into the daily lives of this devoted pair. If you are new to Jane Austen, you will surely enjoy this as well!

NetGalley, Brenda Carleton

It is a pleasure to read such a well written book. It appears that the author has handpicked every word to suit the sentiment of the sentences. It is a delight to read Zoe Wheddon’s rich expressions, precise sentences and enchanting narrative of people, places and the period. The chapters are well knitted in a sequence of events occurred in the life of Martha Lloyd and flows without effort. The conversations between the characters are a typical of Jane’s literary style and readers can relate to Jane’s expression as she would have said herself. One of the many reasons to read this book will be Zoe’s realistic and beautiful portrayal of Jane & Martha’s friendship.

NetGalley, Shelley Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I simply adore Jane Austen and all the books based on her or about her and this book did not disappoint - I had read little about Martha before this book but was fascinated to see her influence on Jane.... oh, if Jane had only lived longer and given us more novels. Definitely for Jane fans and book club alike.

NetGalley, Janet Pole Cousineau

As a huge fan of Jane Austen this book was right up my alley. It was a beautiful read that touched my heart and seeing friendships blossom. It was your typical, cute, classic love story between friends. It honestly was good to read something so uplifting that made me smile and feel cosy.

NetGalley, Sammantha Mouat

This book was the perfect escape. It was lovely and fun. It was my first book by this author and I will definitely be on the look out for more!!

NetGalley, Alicia Goeser

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sometimes, when we think to Jane Austen's family, we refer to her parents and her siblings in her youth and to her mother and her sister Cassandra later on, and we tend to forget an active and always present element in Jane's life: her friend Martha Lloyd, who actually was like a second sister to Jane Austen, ten years her senior.

A very interesting study through which we can re-read Jane Austen'a works from a different perspective, maybe catching new details on her characters and her plots, supported by the knowledge of this paramount figure in Jane's life.

NetGalley, Gabriella Parisi

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.


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 Zöe 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.

Death of Martha Lloyd

24th January 1843

Martha Lloyd, friend of Jane Austen, died on 24 January 1843 in Hampshire.

View all events View all anniversaries

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