I expected when I saw the title of my current review book, Miss Austen, to be learning about Jane Austen as she’s the one I’m most familiar with. Interestingly enough though, it’s about her older sister Cassandra Austen. It’s a tender book filled with memories, mostly good, some sad. Let’s walk through it shall we?
What I am Reviewing
Miss Austen: A Novel is a tender look into the life of the Austen family. Cassandra, an elderly lady now, seeking to restore and to relive her memories of her dear sister Jane. Visiting the family of her long-dead fiance she discovers letters that reveal much about herself, her sister and her family. The question remains… what will be left when she is done? Will the letters remain, or just the memories?
288 pages, 28 chapters, years covered. I received at ARC copy, it sells as a hardcover. Written by Gill Hornby and published by Flatiron Books. A biography that covers the lives of Cassandra Austen and her family. There is a ton of historical data that brings the early 1800’s into vibrant detail. I am reviewing this book on behalf of Raincoast Books.
The Details for Miss Austen
The past, as depicted in vignettes based on letters, and the present reality intermingled. A sweet, but sometimes hard looking back into her history. It wasn’t all roses and sweetness, but difficulties arose like in all families.
I loved the realness of it all. An old lady, going to visit extended family, doesn’t let them know until it’s just a bit late for it, spends her time with them while on a secret quest. She knows what she is up to, the question is, how long will she remain undiscovered?
Miss Austen opens with a map of the Village of Kintbury as well as a family lineup for the Austen, Fowles and Lloyds. We are privileged to see how these families were connected.
I haven’t quite finished though I’ve skipped ahead a bit just to see if my suspicions were correct. (They were but I’m not telling you since this is a review, not a book report). This is a lovely story. I loved seeing Cassandra as she is now, trying to be kind despite some of the hostility she faces. The walks into her history as she read letters… I love this. I really do. It was so fascinating watching her relationship with her sister. That love they shared clearly shown. Get to know the Austens. Get to know Cassandra Austen in particular. You won’t regret it.