Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11½ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. ISBN 9781470384944. $102.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST
While Benjamin Franklin became one of the most famous men of the 18th century, his younger sister Jane suffered an obscure life of poverty and unending childbearing (12 children), despite being an intelligent and perceptive commentator on events of the time. Although only a few of Jane's letters remain of the lifelong correspondence between the siblings, historian Lepore (New York Burning) reconstructs much of Jane's life from her hand-stitched "Book of Ages," her brother's letters, and other recently discovered materials. The result is a fascinating account of American colonial life with riffs on the early meaning of history and commentary on gender discrimination in the 18th century. Narrator Robin Miles's clear, pleasant voice is just right.
VERDICT Listeners interested in early American history and gender issues will savor this work. ["This book is an important, inspiring portrait of a determined and faith-filled woman who just happened to be the sister of a big shot," read the starred review of the Knopf hc, LJ 9/15/13.]

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