The Austen Girls – Lucy Worsley

Standard

 

Bloomsbury

9781408882047

May 2020-03-14

ISBN 9781526605450

RRP: $15.99 Au $17.99 NZ

If you enjoy BBC docos you are no doubt already familiar with Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces,  who is such an excellent presenter but also a witty and skilled writer.

This is the fourth historical novel by this author (and I will now have to search out the others!) and was so enjoyable that I read it very quickly over a couple of nights with ease.

This is a fictional take on the life of Jane Austen told from the perspective of her two nieces – cousins who have always been great friends despite a gulf  in their respective personalities and family circumstances. Each girl frets over the pressure put upon them to find a husband. While Anna  must marry for money according to her father and step-mother, her cousin Fanny does have a little more choice though is still restricted by her own parents’ concept of a suitable husband. Thankfully for both Aunt Jane provides  wisdom and advice not common for the times in which they live.

Worsley’s extensive knowledge of the society mores of the past is obvious as she weaves these into the narrative, providing the reader with a clear and sometimes shocking insight into the Regency period.

Whether an Austen fan (aside: I’ve recently learned that Brisbane has a huge Austen society with often over one hundred members!) or not, this is a novel which will be enjoyed by both teen readers and adults.

Highly recommended for readers from around 13 upwards.

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