"Whether you are a newcomer, or a longtime Austen devotee, this book cannot fail to encourage your own further exploration of her life, times and work."
Mary Guyatt, Curator of Jane Austen's House Museum
I so enjoyed reading this book!!
It's filled with facts and information about the time and places Jane Austen lived in. Places like Steventon, where her father was rector at St. Nicholas Church, an enchanting 13th century building that still stands today. The city of Bath, with it's architecture and entertainments of the day, including the pump room and spa, where you could enjoy the warm spring waters. As well as includes the cities and towns of Southampton, Chawton, London and Winchester.
|St. Nicholas Church|
Intertwined with this information are quotes from Jane's novels, letters she personally wrote to family and friends and gorgeous photos on nearly every page.
Jane Austen is well known for writing about real places and real personalities. She never wrote about places she hadn't been and experienced, and always wrote her characters from personality traits of those she knew or encountered in her life.
|Bath-Royal Crescent (This always brings to mind the novel Persuasion!)|
This is beautifully laid out in this book. For example the chapter on the city of Bath introduces us to this lovely city, then shares a letter to her beloved sister Cassandra and later a quote from Northanger Abbey.
"In 1801 she wrote to Cassandra: 'On Sunday we went to church twice, & after evening service walked a little in the Crescent fields, but found it too cold to stay long,' (May 12) and in 1805: 'We did not walk long in the Crescent... It was hot and not crouded enough; so we went into the field.' (April 8)
Her characters enjoyed walking by the Crescent as well.
In Northanger Abbey, 'As soon as divine service was over, the Thorpes and Allens eagerly joined each other; and after staying long enough in the pump-room to discover that the crowd was insupportable, and that there was not a general face to be seen, which everybody discovers every Sunday throughout the season, they hastened away to the Crescent, to breathe the fresh air of better company."
|Field in front of the Royal Crescent|
I especially liked the chapter on when Jane lived at Chawton cottage. There she did most of her writing and revising of her novels. The photos in this chapter were lovely, as the place must of been to live.
Below is my favorite photo from the book, as Jane's favorite flower was Syringa (lilacs), as is one of mine!
Jane's last residence was in Winchester, and there is where she passed away in 1817 from a unknown illness. Some believe she may have had, as the author states here:
"Hodgkin's lymphoma, cancer, recurrent typhus, tuberculosis, and even arsenic poisoning. The most common theory, based on her symptoms, is that she suffered from Addison's Disease, a disease of the adrenal glands, which at that time was fatal."
When I first saw this book I wasn't intending to read through it all, but rather skim through the photos and read a little here and there, but I'm so glad I took the time to read it all. What a delight! I am now looking forward to reading this authors two other books, 'In the Garden with Jane Austen' and 'Tea with Jane Austen.'
*Note: All photos, unless specified, were found on the internet, not the book.
Buy it HERE on Amazon