Miss Austen (Paperback)Gill Hornby (author)
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Inspired by a real-life literary mystery, Hornby’s deft reimagining of the relationship between Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra feels wonderfully authentic and absorbing. Taking the strange burning of the great author’s letters as a tantalising jumping-off point, Miss Austen blends period charm and sustained narrative tension to spellbinding effect.
Throughout her lifetime, Jane Austen wrote countless letters to her sister. But why did Cassandra burn them all?
1840: twenty three years after the death of her famous sister Jane, Cassandra Austen returns to the village of Kintbury, and the home of her family's friends, the Fowles. She knows that, in some dusty corner of the sprawling vicarage, there is a cache of family letters which hold secrets she can never allow to be revealed.
As Cassandra recalls her youth and her relationship with her brilliant yet complex sister, she pieces together buried truths about Jane's history, and her own. And she faces a stark choice: should she act to protect Jane's reputation, or leave the contents of the letters to go unguarded into posterity?
Based on a literary mystery that has long puzzled biographers and academics, Miss Austen is a wonderfully original and emotionally complex novel about the loves and lives of Cassandra and Jane Austen.
Number of pages: 448
Weight: 287 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 25 mm
'Without romanticising its period setting or underplaying the precariousness of any woman's position in this society, it celebrates unexamined lives, sisterhood and virtues such as kindness and loyalty.' - Sunday Times
'This is the perfect book to wrap yourself around on a dark night.' - Stylist
'Miss Austen voices the (hitherto) shadowy figure of Cassandra, the villainies of the piece, and makes her flesh and blood.... Gill Hornby is at her best describing the complex bonds between the "excellent women" of her story. She describes the horrors, but also the pleasures, of spinsterhood.' - The Times
'So good, so intelligent, so clever, so entertaining - I adored it.' - Claire Tomalin
'Hornby's gift to the world of Austen lovers is to return to Cassandra her rightful recognition as Jane's most intimate and sustaining relationship, her greatest love. This is 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 and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
'It won't surprise me if this is one of the books of the year. It's a delight, one of those that you don't want to end.' - RTE
'A charming novel... capturing the spirit of the brilliant sardonic Jane, and reminding the reader of how brutal life was for women in Austen's era, it's an ingenious and affecting embroidery on the fact of the author's life.' - Sunday Mirror
'Extraordinary and heart-wrenching, Miss Austen transported me from page one. A gift to all Austen lovers.' - Lara Prescott, author of The Secrets We Kept
'Gill Hornby ingeniously imagines what Cassandra Austen's own life might have been like, both before and after Jane's untimely death, casting a different light on the familiar biographical picture without in any way distorting it.' - Deirdre Le Faye, editor of Jane Austen's Letters
'Tender and touching ... Hornby deftly describes the psychological toll that such uncertainly took on Jane, and movingly celebrates the fortitude of Cassandra whose greatest love was her sister' - Daily Mail
'Utterly absorbing. The lives of the Austen sisters are recreated with a brilliant sureness of touch that can only be achieved by deep study of the period.' - Artemis Cooper
'Delightful... It reads just like an Austen novel so you get the double whammy of being a new book with an old feel' Sue Ryan, founder of Henley Lit Fest
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