Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Review: The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C. Sullivan

Title: The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World 
Author: Margaret C. Sullivan
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: April 1st, 2007
Genre: Non-Fiction, History

If you’ve ever read a Jane Austen novel and were curious about why Mr. Collins inherited Longbourn or why everyone assumed Marianne and Mr. Willoughby were engaged, then The Jane Austen Handbook is for you. This is a straightforward look at Regency England, focusing mainly on topics that are relevant to Jane Austen’s novels. The Jane Austen Handbook is a simple guide that tells you everything you need to know. While focusing on topics that are relevant to the novels, such as how to marry off your daughters, secretly elope or politely turn down a marriage proposal, the author also focuses on the daily life of men and women and what kind of jobs they had. The ending includes a good (but brief) biography of Jane Austen, and then summaries of each book and a list of the film adaptations and resources. I’m used to reading my history textbooks, which can be longwinded and slightly tedious, so this was a refreshing change for me. This book was fun and informative, and perfect for anyone with a casual interest in history. I loved how the author described some topics with wit and sarcasm, and that combined with the illustrations livened each page. If you are interested in the background behind Jane Austen’s six novels, then I would recommend checking out The Jane Austen Handbook. And if you do not usually like non-fiction or history books, then this might be a good choice, since it’s frank and interesting. Overall, this is a cute little book that’s filled with a lot of information. If I ever travel back in time, I would like to have this book on my person.


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