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Miss Austen

by Gill Hornby

Miss Austen by Gill Hornby X
Miss Austen by Gill Hornby
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Apr 7, 2020
    288 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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  • Gail Brooks
    Miss Austen
    This novel will appeal to Jane Austen fans, of which there are multitudes over 200 years later. Aside from insight into romance in Georgian England, MISS AUSTEN gives an interesting glimpse into the Austen family dynamics. Cassandra, older sister of Jane, stands as the backbone of the family, supporting Jane through highs and lows, success and disappointment. This was a time when middle class women had few choices: marriage and many children or spinsterhood dependent upon the kindness of others to survive. Careers outside the home were limited. It was a real breakthrough when Jane's work was published anonymously, then under her own name. The brief bios at the beginning of the book were essential to keep track of these large intertwined families.
  • Gwen C. (Clearfield, PA)
    Miss Austen
    What a wonderful step into the world of Cassandra Austen - and sister Jane. I was thoroughly delighted with Hornby's rendering of Jane and Cassie's lives. I have read other "Austen-add on's" and this one -by far- captures (what I perceive to be) the sisters' relationship - and the plight of the unmarried woman in 18th century England. It's fun to see Jane as a little "snarky" at times and Cassie's inner thoughts contrasting with her outward behavior. All in all, a great read!
  • Katie V. (Madison, WI)
    Miss Austen by Gill Hornby: Cassandra Austen's Story
    Miss Austen begins in the springtime, and the novel is infused with the positive energy of spring's possibility. An unflinching look at the constraints around women's lives in the 1700s and 1800s, the novel shows how bright, creative women like Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra navigated within those gender limitations and ultimately created space for themselves to live lives of their choosing. Told from Cassandra Austen's perspective, the book moves back and forth in time, bringing to life Cassandra's rich memories of her creative, boisterous family, especially her beloved sister Jane, and then returning to Cassandra's present, after Jane has passed away and Cassandra has embarked on a mission to protect Jane's legacy. This delightful book offers historical detail, glimpses into Austen's characters and novels, immersive depictions of the landscapes in which the Austens lived, star-crossed romance, and ultimately the satisfaction of women's lives well lived. I enjoyed it immensely, and looked forward to picking it up every evening.
  • Mary L. (Greeley, CO)
    More of the story
    This book will appeal to admirers of Jane Austen's writing and also readers who love exploring both history and family relationships. The book alternates between Jane and her sister Cassandra's adult years and 1840, 23 years after Jane has passed, as Cassy seeks to protect Jane's reputation by destroying some letters Jane wrote. The novel also shines a light on the plight of women, married and, especially, single in England at the time. The wit and subtle humor are reminiscent of Jane Austen, herself.
  • Deborah W. (Boynton Beach, FL)
    Meet "Miss Austen" and Her Sister, Jane
    In this delightful novel about Jane Austen's sister Cassandra the author deftly weaves in familiar Austen plot elements: sisters and their immediate and extended relatives; seaside visits; a public dance and a picnic; visits with friends; domestic issues and long walks; off-stage marriage proposals and their consequences; mistakes about love, some fixable and some not; and the necessity of finding one's place in the world, particularly for unmarried women. The author's tone and details are spot-on throughout, and key biographical facts and dates are followed. In addition to playing a central role Cassandra also showcases her sister's wit and insights. The book is a treat for Jane Austen's many fans, a charming return to her world; and I, for one, was glad to spend time there.
  • Dorothy M. (Maynard, MA)
    An Austen you can enjoy
    If, like me, you are disappointed in the interpretation that PBS has made of the unfinished novel by Jane Austen, I have a book for you. Miss Austen by Gill Hornby focuses on Cassandra, Jane's older sister, constant companion and the literary executor of her estate. Written with the subtle wit of Jane Austen, Hornby introduces us to Cassandra in her later years, several years after Jane's death. Always concerned about the legacy that Jane will leave, when Cassandra learns that the parsonage where the Fowles - extended family and great friends of the Austen's - lived is being claimed by the replacement clergyman, she invites herself to stay. She is determined to find and censor any letters that might cast a shadow on Jane's life. And as is often the case when you dig in the past, she learns some things she might prefer not to know. As Jane Austen did, Hornby shows us the options open to women during the period, always limited, and the dismal opportunities for single women or women whose husbands are no longer around. I thoroughly enjoyed this chance to explore a different aspect of Jane Austen's life. While this is fiction, the author has been careful to stay within the historical data (and speculation) around the Austen family. The echoes of Mrs Bennett in Mrs. Austen and the depiction of Mary Austen, James' wife who has never met an issue she can't criticize, are another bit of the charm.
  • Julie Z. (Oak Park, IL)
    MIss Austen
    One would assume that a book titled Miss Austen would be about Jane Austen, but Cassandra Austen, Jane's sister is the protagonist of this well written historical novel. Jane is deceased, and Cassandra is going through old letters of hers, deciding which are important to tell the story of Jane's life. Using the letters as a device to take us from Jane's early years to 1840, when the aging Cassandra comes across the letters adds an interesting perspective. Ultimately, this novel could have been written about anyone from this era, as the Austen references are secondary. An interesting look at the time period, with well fleshed out characters and atmospheric environment.
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