Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Miss Austen - Historical Fiction Review

Goodreads:  Miss Austen by Gil Hornby

Rating: Really Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description: England, 1840. For the two decades following the death of her beloved sister, Jane, Cassandra Austen has lived alone, spending her days visiting friends and relations and quietly, purposefully working to preserve her sister’s reputation. Now in her sixties 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.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I love historical fiction and this sounded like an intriguing premise.

My Impression:  Coming into this book I felt like I knew a little bit about Jane Austen and the Austen family in general. But really the only thing I knew about Cassandra Austen is that she was the caretaker of Jane's legacy and her mission was to always show Jane in a positive light and hide some of her sharper snarkier observations. 

I really enjoyed seeing more of her personality and her thinking behind her decisions to keep Jane's memory untarnished by unkind words though I think we would have loved Jane all the more if we could have known her a little better.

I enjoyed getting to know Cassie and some of the other Austen relations and family friends.  While I didn't always agree with her decisions I did very much enjoy her sharp observations and family loyalty.  I do want to read up a bit more to see if Mary Austen is as awful as she's portrayed - I suspect she was!  This was a lovely read and a nice distraction with the added benefit of bringing a beloved literary figure to life.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would!  I love historical fiction and this was very well done.

Would I Recommend this Book?  Yes!  If you love Jane Austen or historical fiction in general I think you would enjoy this book.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. I love historical fiction, so I’m looking forward to this one.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I just read an interview of this author which was fascinating. Thanks for this review.

  3. I'm not a big historical fiction fan, but I do love the ones that have an Austen connection. I'll check this one out.

  4. I do enjoy a well told historical romance. I really know next to nothing about Jane Austen so I think this would be interesting.

  5. I passed on this one, although I was tempted. It was a matter of time and fitting it in. Sure sounds like it was a really good read. Books like this do make a reader want to delve more into the lives of the people involved.

  6. I am glad you enjoyed this one, Katherine. I really like Jane Austen and am curious about this one featuring her sister.

  7. Is the account historically correct as far as her living with that family? The story sounds really interesting. 👍✨