At Home With Jane Austen by Kim Wilson, 2014

Victoria here, enjoying the wonderful pictures and copy of this new book by my friend and colleague, Kim Wilson. Don’t expect anything negative in this “review,” because I love everything Kim does unreservedly. I am sure you will agree that all her books — especially this beautiful edition from Abbeville Press — deserve all the praise I can muster.

Kim and Victoria giving a talk at the 2014 Montreal JASNA-AGM

Kim’s lively account of Jane Austen’s life is complemented with wonderful photographs and reproductions of period prints. Many of the pictures were commissioned from Gavin Kingcome, who portrays even the most familiar of views with an artist’s eye.  Other photos are taken by Kim herself.

From the very beginning, you will be charmed by the pictures and prose, perfect for enjoying cover to cover or for dipping into briefly during a comforting tea break.

In the foreword by the curator of of Jane Austen’s House Museum, Chawton, Hampshire, Mary Guyatt writes, “This book cannot fail to encourage your own further exploration…” This is true for a dedicated devotee — like myself — or for a newcomer to Austen’s life and work.

Adlestrop Park, Gloucestershire

Our journey with Jane Austen begins at her childhood home in Steventon, Hampshire, where she lived with her parents and sister Cassandra and her many brothers as well as some boarding students Mr. Austen taught in preparation for college. And we accompany her on the many visits she made in rural villages, sophisticated cities, and stately country mansions. Along the way, we learn about her many friends and relatives through her own words from her letters to her sister Cassandra.

Bath, 1806

On the many travels around England, we also encounter the settings for Austen’s novels, in Bath, Lyme Regis, and London.  And we discover clues about the imagined settings she used, such as the estates of Pemberley and Donwell Abbey.

Chawton Cottage

Gardening, fashion, balls, literature, and the theatre – all pursuits Jane Austen enjoyed – are covered, as well as the personal activities in which she excelled, e.g. playing the piano and writing.

Indulge your Janeite friends, others who need to be initiated into the delights of Austen, and above all yourself — with a gift of this gorgeous volume by Kim Wilson from Abbeville Press: At Home with Jane Austen.

Kim Wilson’s previous titles, still available, are Tea with Jane Austen and In the Garden with Jane Austen.

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