Becoming Jane
Goodreads ratings
4.11 / 5

"Becoming Jane" Summary

By Kevin Hood

historical fiction | Published in 2008

Jane, a 20-year-old writer falls in love with Tom Lefroy who studies law. Jane's romance inspired her to write Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Read the story of Jane Austen and how she became one of the greatest writers of English literature.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A fictionalized account exploring the early life and romance of famed author Jane Austen.

Becoming Jane: A Tale of Love and Ambition


"Becoming Jane" by Kevin Hood is a captivating historical fiction novel that explores the life of Jane Austen, one of the most beloved and influential authors of all time. Set in the late 18th century, the book takes readers on a journey through Jane's formative years, uncovering the experiences and relationships that shaped her into the remarkable writer she would become.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in rural Hampshire, England, during a time when social class and societal expectations greatly influenced one's path in life. Jane Austen, an intelligent and spirited young woman, dreams of becoming a renowned writer. However, her family's limited financial means and the societal pressure to secure a suitable marriage present significant challenges to her ambitions.

As Jane navigates the complexities of her world, she forms a deep connection with Tom Lefroy, a charming and witty Irish lawyer. Their passionate and intellectual bond threatens to disrupt the social order and jeopardize Jane's future. Amidst the turmoil of love and ambition, Jane must confront her own desires and the constraints of the society she inhabits.

Main Characters

Jane AustenThe protagonist and aspiring writer who defies societal norms
Tom LefroyA charismatic lawyer who becomes Jane's love interest
Cassandra AustenJane's supportive sister and confidante
Mrs. AustenJane's mother, who worries about her daughter's future
Mr. AustenJane's father, a clergyman with limited means
Lady GreshamA wealthy and influential woman who has expectations for Jane's future

Summary of Story Points

Chapter 1: Introduction to Jane Austen's World

  • Jane Austen is introduced as a young woman with a passion for writing and a desire for independence.
  • The societal constraints and expectations of the time are established, emphasizing the limited options available to women.

Chapter 2: Jane's Family and Background

  • The Austen family is depicted, highlighting their financial struggles and the importance of securing advantageous marriages.
  • Jane's close relationship with her sister Cassandra is explored, emphasizing their shared dreams and support for each other.

Chapter 3: The Meeting with Tom Lefroy

  • Jane encounters Tom Lefroy, a charming and witty young lawyer from Ireland, at a local ball.
  • The two engage in spirited conversations and find a deep intellectual connection.

Chapter 4: Forbidden Love

  • Jane and Tom's friendship deepens into a forbidden and passionate romance.
  • Their love becomes a source of conflict as societal expectations and class differences threaten to tear them apart.

Chapter 5: Societal Pressure and Expectations

  • Jane's mother and Lady Gresham, a wealthy and influential woman, pressure her to consider advantageous marriage proposals.
  • Jane grapples with the choice between love and societal expectations.

Chapter 6: Rejection and Heartbreak

  • Tom is forced to end his relationship with Jane due to his family's disapproval and financial constraints.
  • Jane experiences heartbreak and must face the reality of her circumstances.

Chapter 7: Resilience and Determination

  • Jane channels her pain and disappointment into her writing, using her experiences to fuel her creativity.
  • She becomes more determined than ever to pursue her dreams and prove herself as a writer.

Main Events

  1. Jane Austen's introduction as a young woman with a passion for writing and a desire for independence.
  2. Jane's deep connection and forbidden romance with Tom Lefroy.
  3. The societal pressure and expectations that threaten to derail Jane's ambitions and force her into a conventional marriage.
  4. Tom's rejection of Jane and her subsequent heartbreak.
  5. Jane's resilience and determination to pursue her writing despite the obstacles she faces.

Themes and Insights

  • Love and Ambition: The novel explores the delicate balance between following one's heart and pursuing personal ambitions. Jane must navigate the conflicting desires of love and literary success.
  • Gender and Society: The societal constraints imposed on women during the 18th century are highlighted, showcasing the limited options available to them and the challenges they faced in pursuing their passions.
  • The Creative Process: The book delves into the inspiration behind Jane Austen's writing, depicting how personal experiences and emotions shaped her literary works.

Reader's Takeaway

"Becoming Jane" offers readers a captivating glimpse into the life of Jane Austen, shedding light on the experiences and relationships that influenced her as a writer. The novel explores themes of love, ambition, and societal expectations, providing valuable insights into the challenges faced by women in the 18th century. Readers will be inspired by Jane's resilience and determination to pursue her dreams, even in the face of heartbreak and societal pressure.


"Becoming Jane" by Kevin Hood is a compelling historical fiction novel that brings to life the formative years of one of literature's most beloved authors. Through its vivid storytelling and well-developed characters, the book offers readers an intimate understanding of Jane Austen's journey towards becoming a writer. This engaging tale of love and ambition serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of Jane Austen's works and the remarkable woman behind them.

Becoming Jane FAQ

  1. Who is the author of 'Becoming Jane'?

    The author of 'Becoming Jane' is Kevin Hood.

  2. What is the genre of 'Becoming Jane'?

    'Becoming Jane' is a historical fiction novel.

  3. What is the book about?

    'Becoming Jane' is a fictionalized account of the early life of Jane Austen, exploring her journey to becoming a renowned author.

  4. Is 'Becoming Jane' based on true events?

    While 'Becoming Jane' is based on the life of Jane Austen, it is a work of fiction and includes fictional elements.

  5. Is this book suitable for young readers?

    The book is recommended for adult readers due to its mature themes and content.

  6. Where can I purchase 'Becoming Jane'?

    You can purchase 'Becoming Jane' online through various retailers or at your local bookstore.

  7. How long is the book?

    The length of 'Becoming Jane' may vary depending on the edition, but it is typically around 300-400 pages.

  8. Are there any sequels or spin-offs to 'Becoming Jane'?

    No, 'Becoming Jane' does not have any official sequels or spin-offs.

  9. Has 'Becoming Jane' been adapted into a movie?

    Yes, 'Becoming Jane' was adapted into a film released in 2007, directed by Julian Jarrold.

  10. Is 'Becoming Jane' a standalone novel?

    Yes, 'Becoming Jane' is a standalone novel and does not belong to a series.