Review: Miss Austen by Gill Hornby

As a Jane Austen fan, this was a must read for me. While it is a fictionalized account of Cassandra Austen’s life, it was one that I was eager to read and enjoy.

This book came in at just under 300 pages (about 290) and to be honest, I was worried that because of the length, it would only scratch the surface of Cassandra’s story.

But I have never been more pleased to be wrong in my assumption! This book packed an emotional punch that I wasn’t expecting but it worked so well and I happily passed a few quarantined days reading this book!

Summary

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 and unwed, spending her days visiting friends and relations and quietly, purposefully working to preserve her sister’s reputation. Now in her ’60s 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. (summary from Goodreads)

Review

I loved that this book explored the ‘what if’ aspect of the missing Jane Austen letters. I thought it made sense and felt true to the period and to Austen herself. Jane Austen is such a classic author with so many beloved books that it’s easy to romanticize not only herself but her life and books/characters. What I loved about this book was it made the reader look at Jane’s life from the perspective of her sister, who is often referred to as Jane’s censor.

From Cassandra’s perspective we get a look into the lives of unmarried women during this time and not just the idyllic views we traditionally see in many fictional novels of this time period. I thought it was a very interesting study and I loved that the author really brought this pierce of silent history to light. In this book, Cassandra is definitely portrayed as the thoughtful sister to Jane and while I have mostly studies Jane’s novels rather than her personal life, I found that their relationship portrayed in this book was genuine and  believable.

One of my favorite parts of the book was getting to see the wold be villain Mary Austen. As I mentioned before, I haven’t gone down the worm hole of Austen history yet….I have only just stayed within the literary context. Debating about who inspired Jane’s characters or stories just never really appealed to me so I stayed away from it, but I do know that her sister in law Mary Austen was often thought to be the inspiration for Mary Bennett and I loved having a chance to explore Mary Austen’s character in this book that is independent from the traditional Austen cannon.

I think my only regret in this book was that it wasn’t a little longer. Don’t get me wrong, as I mentioned earlier the book is very satisfying on its own but I wanted to linger in the world that the author has created. In short I was not ready to say goodbye so soon, but ultimately all the loose ends and such were wrapped up nicely in the 280 ish pages and I felt that the story was indeed done but I loved the author’s prose and historical details, that I just wasn’t ready to be done.

Book Info and Rating

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by Flatiron Books (first published January 23rd 2020)
ASIN B07PBPRJXX
Free review copy provided by publisher, Flatiron Books, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: historical fiction

WHERE TO BUYS (AFFILIATE LINKS)

Special Feature and Excerpt: Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr

I have only recently discovered author Robyn Carr, but I have loved all of her books that I have read so far.

She is a prolific writer with many books and series under her belt and I am never disappointed when I pick up one of her books. When this book came up, I was thrilled to be able to bring an excerpt to you guys to check out!

The cover is incredibly eye catching and screams spring/summer reading to me. I can almost feel the sun on my skin radiating from this book.After reading this little excerpt, I am even more excited to read it! Continue reading “Special Feature and Excerpt: Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr”

Review: The Arrangement (The Survivors’ Club #2) by Mary Balogh

As many of you might recall, my mom set me the first book in this series for Valentines Day with the PSA to skip all the sex parts.

Which was entirely unnecessary as the sex was shockingly tame in the first book, though I can’t say that I loved Hugo very much. So when I finished that one, I was not at all surprised when the second book in the series showed up thanks to my mother.

Again, when I opened the box and saw this cover, I had to laugh once more. It screams cliche tacky romance novel. I love romances so much though (tacky cover or not!) and all the reviews I saw for this one said this was their favorite in the series, so I was eager to start it! Continue reading “Review: The Arrangement (The Survivors’ Club #2) by Mary Balogh”

Special Feature: Tactical Crime Division Series Launch

In this exciting new release from Harlequin Intrigue comes the Tactical Crime Division, which has three books that are out now!

Perfect for fans of Criminal Minds and Blacklist…
Uncover the lives and loves of the FBI elite as they take on the toughest assignments. This is a new four-book miniseries featuring an ensemble cast of characters spread across 4 books, featuring 4 urgent
cases, with one stellar team of crime solving experts.

The Tactical Crime Division—TCD—is a specialized unit of the FBI. Because of the growing concerns and need for ever increasing response time to criminal events, the FBI created a specialized tech and tactical team combing specialists from several active divisions that include: weapons, crime scene investigation, protection, negotiation and IT.

Each title can be read as a standalone novel, featuring a unique hard to solve crime case. Continue reading “Special Feature: Tactical Crime Division Series Launch”

Review: The Last Bathing Beauty by Amy Sue Nathan

This cover makes me so excited for summer and long walks on the beach. I have had it on my radar for quite some time and when it was picked as the March Amazon First Reads selection, I knew it was going to be a big new release.

I haven’t read anything by this author before but she has written three other well received books and I was excited to give this one a try.

Besides all the hype and the beautiful eye catching cover, this book boasted a sassy heroine and I was most excited to read about her, but beyond that I didn’t really know too much about what this book was about. Continue reading “Review: The Last Bathing Beauty by Amy Sue Nathan”