Miss Austen

Miss Austen by Gill Hornby

Published:  April 7, 2020 – Flatiron Books

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

Whoever looked at an elderly lady and saw the young heroine she once was?

England, 1840. For the two decades following the death of her beloved sister, Jane, Cassandra Austen has lived alone, spending her days visiting friends and relations and quietly, purposefully working to preserve her sister’s reputation. Now in her sixties and increasingly frail, Cassandra goes to stay with the Fowles of Kintbury, family of her long-dead fiancé, in search of a trove of Jane’s letters. Dodging her hostess and a meddlesome housemaid, Cassandra eventually hunts down the letters and confronts the secrets they hold, secrets not only about Jane but about Cassandra herself. Will Cassandra bare the most private details of her life to the world, or commit her sister’s legacy to the flames?

Moving back and forth between the vicarage and Cassandra’s vibrant memories of her years with Jane, interwoven with Jane’s brilliantly reimagined lost letters, Miss Austen is the untold story of the most important person in Jane’s life. With extraordinary empathy, emotional complexity, and wit, Gill Hornby finally gives Cassandra her due, bringing to life a woman as captivating as any Austen heroine. (publisher)

My take:  I’m not an Austen scholar by any stretch of the imagination but I am a fan of her novels. I loved reading about Jane and her sister Cassandra in Miss Austen. They had such a dear relationship. Jane fought bouts of depression and Cassie took care of her as well as their mother. Cassie had deep compassion for others and ultimately lived to serve members of her family instead of focusing on her losses. It was easy to feel sympathy for her all the while hoping for some romantic happiness to land at her door. The novel moves back and forth from her time as a daughter and sister to her days of relying on the charity of relatives. She visits one relative with hopes of reclaiming letters that could reveal Jane’s personal feelings/thoughts if they were to land in the wrong hands. I enjoyed Gill Hornby’s novel and found myself smiling quite a bit while reading. It was a satisfying read for this casual fan.


Praise for Miss Austen

“For readers who enjoy Austen’s novels and wish to know more about her life and for those seeking excellent English historical fiction.”

Library Journal, starred review

 
“[Miss Austen] strikes gold….Echoing Austen’s sardonic wit and crisp prose without falling into pastiche, Hornby succeeds with a vivid homage to the Austens and their world.”
Publishers Weekly


“Austen fans will enjoy Hornby’s nuanced, fresh portrayal of Jane….Cassandra herself is similarly fascinating, a woman who never ceases her efforts to carve out a life of her own in a world that is not kind to unmarried women.”

Booklist

 
“[A] gift to the world of Austen lovers….A deeply imagined and deeply moving novel. Reading it made me happy and weepy in equally copious amounts.” 
—Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
 
“Unputdownable. So good, so intelligent, so clever, so entertaining—I adored it.”
—Claire Tomalin, author of Jane Austen: A Life  

 
“Extraordinary and heart-wrenching, Miss Austen transported me from page one. A remarkable novel that is wholly original, deeply moving, and emotionally complex.”
—Lara Prescott, author of The Secrets We Kept


5 thoughts on “Miss Austen

  1. Okay! Katherine liked this one too, I am sorry I passed on it due to slow reading these days but I did hesitate on the request for quite awhile. Never mind it sounds like one I should look for either at the library or buy for the read.

    Like

  2. Hi Mary,

    This is probably one I would pass on if I came across it on NetGalley. I am always tempted to bag more books than I can ever hope to read, because I like the sound of them, so I have been making a conscious effort to only download books I have been pre-approved for by publishers organising Blog Tours I am part of.

    I do like the cover of ‘Miss Austen’ though and your review was lovely.

    Thanks for sharing and enjoy your virtual Easter.
    Stay Safe 🙂

    Yvonne
    xx

    Like

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