I have been looking for good fictional books for my daughter to read as part of her year 8 academic year. Books that are entertaining and also link in with our topics. This coming year we are planning on covering the historical periods from the Tudor Times through to the Victorian Times and as part of her English Literature she has asked to work through Pride and Prejudice so I was thrilled when I spotted this book – The Austen Girls .
And even more thrilled that it was written by Lucy Worsley. We are both huge fans of hers (we love watching the different historical documentaries that she does and we enjoyed Lady Mary). I really like Lucy’s writing style because her books are never scary (no nightmares) and there are no explicit scenes between couples. She has a knack for including lots of historical everyday facts in her stories, facts that you don’t always realize are there because they are woven into the story. After reading The Austen Girls I felt like I gained a better understanding of what it would have been like to live in that time period. It’s the everyday type stuff like how a house was run, how shops worked, was it normal to see a women sitting in a pub. The way she talks about the obsession with marrying off the girls, making sure the matches are good. The comparison between the richer Austen household and the poorer household and how it affects the girls’ marriage prospects. I also really enjoyed the way she brought the whole criminal justice system into her story (well really lack of an effective criminal justice system). But she highlighted the way the courts worked, the lack of a proper police force, how convicted people where often sent off to the colonies and even how the jails worked so differently. There is a lot of detail about general living conditions and social norms that she has managed to include in this story. And for that reason I think it would be an excellent book to read if the kids are studying Jane Austen or if the kids are learning about the Georgian time period.
The story itself is lovely. It focuses on Jane Austen’s two nieces – Fanny and Anna both of whom have a close relationship with Jane (Jane lives in her brother’s house).
The story details the two cousins’ introduction into society and their attempts to find a husband. There are some interesting twists and the ending was not what I expected but I actually like the way she chose to end the story.
I think The Austen Girls is another lovely book from Lucy Worsley and I am sure my daughter is going to love reading it. (I would say it would be suitable for any tweenagers and older). From a home educators point of view I think it is a brilliant book which can be used when you are studying Georgian History and or Jane Austen’s work in in English literature.
Admin – I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use and love.