Robert Hale LTD, London 1983
Hardcover - 190 pages
ISBN 0 7090 1081 8
Jane tells her story from her early life in Highbury to her upbringing by Colonel and Mrs Campbell and her friendship with their daughter (this time called Amelia). The events which lead up to Jane's meeting wit Frank Churchill and their secret engagement are fully related. Jane's tells of her unhappiness in deceiving friends and family.
When Jane goes to stay in Highbury after Amelia's marriage to Mr Dixon, the story of her meetings there with Frank Churchill, her relationship with Emma Woodhouse and others and , of course, the piano, are all told from Jane's point of view. The story ends at the point at which the original Emma ends with the marriages of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill, Harriet Smith and Robert Martin and Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley.
Though Jane Fairfax only started keeping her journal after she and Frank Churchill became secretly engaged, she does give us a little background on her childhood and her life with the Campbells.
As a young child, Jane spent a bit of time at Hartfield. Although she and Emma Woodhouse were the same age, she found Isabella's company more to her liking. The elder Miss Woodhouse was a quite, gentle person, like herself, and was very kind to the orphaned Jane. Jane preferred reading, playing with paper dolls, doing needlework while Miss Emma Woodhouse was a very ative child. She ran, jumped, climbed; Jane was wearied just watching her. So, they rarely played to together and their different temperaments did not foster friendship between them.
Jane was still quite young when she began spending summers with the Campbells. She and their daughter, Amelia, were exactly the same age and the same disposition and became fast friends.
She went to live permanently with the Campbelss at age 9. We learn a little about their coming of age, meeting Mr. Dixon and Amelia's subsequent marriage. It is during the courtship that they meet Mr. Frank Churchill. The attraction between Jane and Frank is instantaneous and so the secret engagement happens.
The remainder of the book chronicles the activities of Emma but from Jane's perspective. Since Jane is telling her own story, the actions protrayed cast her and Frank in a favorable light. However, there is no disparagement of any of the other characters, except, possibly, Mr. and Mrs. Elton.
This book is extremely rare. I think that waiting almost seven years for it was worthwhile. I enjoyed this story very much. Should you ever run across it, I recommend that you give it a read.