Would she ever find a real-life husband? Would she even find a partner to dance with at tonight’s ball? She just didn’t know.
Anna Austen has always been told she must marry rich. Her future depends upon it. While her dear cousin Fanny has a little more choice, she too is under pressure to find a suitor.
But how can either girl know what she wants? Is finding love even an option? The only person who seems to have answers is their Aunt Jane. She has never married. In fact, she’s perfectly happy, so surely being single can’t be such a bad thing?
The time will come for each of the Austen girls to become the heroines of their own stories. Will they follow in Jane’s footsteps?
In this witty, sparkling novel of choices, popular historian LUCY WORSLEY brings alive the delightful life of Jane Austen as you’ve never seen it before.
The Austen Girls is a Young Adult book by the well-known historian, Lucy Worsley. It takes us into the lives of two young women in early 19th century England. Fanny and Anna are the nieces of writer, Jane Austen, but they have no idea that she is an author. Preparing to “come out” at their first ball, their mothers have made it clear that they are expected to find suitable husbands. Fanny has the advantage of a wealthy father, Anna’s family are not so rich, but Anna is the most confident and more beautiful girl.
The balls are described in painful detail, where Fanny despairs of being selected as a dance partner. She enjoys conversation with the new curate, who shares her interest in books, but he is below her station. Fanny welcomes advice from her Aunt Jane, particularly when they have to right an injustice and unfair imprisonment. Meanwhile Anna gets herself into a pickle, wanting to marry a much older curate who is unlikely to make her happy. The plight of young women in Georgian times was evidently very difficult, so perhaps Aunt Jane was right to remain a spinster to keep some independence.
There is an atmosphere of frivolity and intrigue in the story, which shows us the same delights and problems as Jane Austen’s own novels and as a reader you are hoping that the two cousins will make the right decisions for their own future lives.
The Austen Girls on Amazon UK
My Review of Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley