Am I a Literary Blogger? Janet Todd’s “Aphra Behn: A Secret Life”

Aphra Behn engraving by Robert White after a lost portrait by John Riley, c. 1680

Am I a literary blogger?

Well, perhaps not.

Unfortunately, I  can’t read every review copy, even if it is addressed to “Literary Blogger.” Isn’t that the most endearing title ever?

I’d love to be a literary blogger.  But  I resolved not to accept any review copies this year: I just don’t have time.  After a landmark birthday, my white hair and  shockingly sun-striated face convinced me to rethink my reading and set a “syllabus” for myself.

But the book in question, a reissue of Janet Todd’s biography, Aphra Behn: A Secret Life, with a new preface, looks fascinating. According to the Goodreads description, “Aphra Behn (1640-1689), poet, playwright, novelist, traveller and spy, was the first woman to earn her living as a writer: her works include The Rover, The Fair Jilt, Love Letters Between a Nobleman and his Sister, and The Forc’d Marriage. ” Todd, a  Professor Emerita of the University of Aberdeen and an Honorary Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge  has written biographies of Jane Austen, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Mary Shelley and is also the General Editor of the 9-volume Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen.

Impressive credentials, no? I’ll read it slowly over the next month and post periodically about this biography, and then when I’m done give it away to whoever wants it:  leave a comment or write me at

And ‘fess up:  who gave my name to the publishing company?  Or am I just twirling in cyberspace now?

6 thoughts on “Am I a Literary Blogger? Janet Todd’s “Aphra Behn: A Secret Life”

  1. I’ve had review copies arrive with odd titles such as Freelance, Shiny New Books and just my blog title. I’m reviewing new stuff this year but being selective as I can – I have my own agenda of books that I want to read and I’m trying to weed out the trivial – doesn’t always work, though, because sometimes I just need to read a Golden Age crime novel! 🙂


    • Oh, that’s hilarious (about “Freelance” especially)! It’s amazing that they arrive at all with those names, let alone that they know our address. I enjoy a Golden Age crime novels and think they’re classics.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was sent this for review too, and it looks interesting, but rather long and dense when i already have soooo many other books I’m trying to get through. I liked Todd’s novel A Man of Genius so I’m pretty sure it will be well done, I’m just not sure when I’ll have the time and energy to get to it.


    • Yes, I always feel in a bind when someone sends me something good, though not quite my thing. And I’m not really “accepting” review copies this year. I have good intentions about this one if I have time.

      Liked by 1 person

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