At Home with Jane Austen

Kim Wilson. Abbeville, $29.95 (144 pages) ISBN 978-0-7892-1209-2
Though there is no shortage of books about Jane Austen, this charming volume will no doubt find an appreciative audience. Wilson (Tea with Jane Austen) once again leads the reader through a specific aspect of Austen's life– in this case, the physical spaces which she lived in or visited. Individual chapters take us from Austen's childhood country home in rural Steventon to the bustling city of Bath, with which she is so associated, to her final dwellings in Chawton, where she wrote so many of her novels, and Winchester, where she passed away. Austen regularly visited friends and family and vacationed at the seaside, and the chapter on travel is particularly engaging, recounting in detail the vagaries and difficulties of Regency-era travel. Copious photographs and prints illustrate what Jane Austen might have experienced as well as what remains for us to enjoy. Quotes from Austen's letters convey the day-to-day experience of living in these places, and examples from her work demonstrate how often these experiences found their way into the novels. The volume will perhaps be best enjoyed by diehard Austenites, but even casual fans should enjoy following in the beloved author's footsteps. A useful appendix is also included.120 color illus. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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