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!


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)


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)
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


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”

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”

Review: Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

This book has been receiving a ton advanced praise. It’s been talked about as one of the next big Indie Picks and many are characterizing it as a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alice in Wonderland.

When I heard all the praise and hype about this book, I was a little hesitant to read it because I worried that my expectations wouldn’t live up to the hype. However the summary sounded so promising that I didn’t feel like I could pass on it, nor did I want to.

The summary promised a dark and innovative novel with lots of imagination mixed with some historical fiction. I was so glad that I decided not to pass on this one because the story itself was absolutely incredible. Continue reading “Review: Sin Eater by Megan Campisi”

Review: Marguerite by Marina Kemp

When I first encountered this book, my mind ran to the assumption that it was going to be a very ‘high brow’ read. Don’t get me wrong, I love intelligent and more serious novels from time to time but I also enjoy just escaping into a trashy romance too, so it just depends on my mood.

But this novel continued to stand out and intrigue me. I loved the cover and thought it was elegant and eye catching, but I also thought the story sounded compelling and smart. By the time I was ready to pick it up, my interest in it was well and truly caught.

The book had been sitting on my bookshelf calling my name for the better part of two months so it was with great anticipation that I cracked it open. Continue reading “Review: Marguerite by Marina Kemp”