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Jane Austen at Home

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  4,461 ratings  ·  633 reviews
Recent cover edition here
On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death, historian Lucy Worsley leads us into the rooms from which our best-loved novelist quietly changed the world.

This new telling of the story of Jane's life shows us how and why she lived as she did, examining the places and spaces that mattered to her. It wasn't all country houses and ballrooms, but a l
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Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published May 18th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Renuka I read them one after the other (Worsley first because I got it first) and naturally liked the more comprehensive Tomalin better.
However there were a…more
I read them one after the other (Worsley first because I got it first) and naturally liked the more comprehensive Tomalin better.
However there were aspects that Worsley got better and I would read them both again.
As much as we never get to know a real life person 'completely' because, as Elizabeth Bennet says, people themselves keep changing so much, a different biography does give a different aspect that one had not / would not have seen or considered before / otherwise.
Worsley for example gives a list of Jane Austen admirers & suitors that Tomalin completely ignores or misses or discounts.
Worsley also writes from a completely different viewpoint it's almost like about a differnet person. Her focus is Jane in different places - thematically its location based with attendant influences. I found this aspect useful. Worsley can however be a little sweeping, a little superficial - more broad strokes.
Tomalin gives the classic biography - deeply researched and focused on the person as an individual and within a group - there isn't however the focus on the location impact to the extent Worsley gives. That said Tomalin one is better. So it's your call. (less)

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Diane
I loved this biography of Jane Austen so much that while reading it I was bursting with enthusiasm and couldn't stop talking about it.

Historian Lucy Worlsey focused on Jane's experiences in her different homes and on how her novels treated life at home. I especially appreciated the details about Jane's relationship with her parents and siblings, the joy of when she got her first writing desk (which I was lucky enough to see on display at the British Library), and the details about how her work f
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Candi
4.5 stars

"For Jane, home was a perennial problem. Where could she afford to live? Amid the many domestic duties of an unmarried daughter and aunt, how could she find the time to write? Where could she keep her manuscripts safe? A home of her own must have seemed to Jane to be always just out of reach."

Historian and author Lucy Worsley has written an excellent biography examining the beloved novelist Jane Austen’s writing from the context of homes – her own homes as well as the homes of others in
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Katie Lumsden
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
What a book! A really brilliant biography, so thoughtfully put together, so well written, with just the right amount of historical and social context. Very moving, very interesting and absolutely worth a read.
abby
Jane Austen is a household name, and we know very little about her. Historian Lucy Worsley seeks to change that by focusing on the famous author's life at home-- and lack there of one. What emerges is a story of the precarious business of being a woman in Georgian England. Your home is wherever your male relations deem to keep you. And it was no different for Jane Austen. When her father retired, she lost rights to her beloved childhood home in Stevenson, and all of her possessions, including bo ...more
Tony Riches
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can say with some confidence that, after reading this book, you will never read Jane Austen’s works in quite the same way again. I also wonder if, like me, your mental picture of Jane Austen is a blend of the famous ‘portrait’ by her sister Cassandra and Anne Hathaway’s memorable portrayal in TV’s (historically inaccurate) ‘Becoming Jane’? If so, you must read this brilliant new work by Lucy Worsley.

Lucy’s lively style and relish in fascinating details shines new light on the real Jane Austen.
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Chrissie
This is a non-fiction book about the Georgian author Jane Austen (1787 – 1817). The Georgian era covers the period in British history from 1714 to 1830 when the Hanoverian kings George I, George II, George III and George IV reigned. The Victorian era followed. The literature of the two periods differ, each mirroring the social customs that held sway. Georgian society is typified by joie de vivre, dancing and theater, as well as dissipation and extravagance, for those with means. There is less fi ...more
Geevee
I have yet to read a single Jane Austen book so why did I pick this hugely enjoyable and insightful read?

Two reasons: An interest in 18th/19th century society and Lucy Worsley.

This book is a superb telling of 18th century society and life - Jane's life - through her homes and it is ably done with passion and care that brings our subject and her family in to being. We read of early life at home in Hampshire and how the family lived together but with financial challenges that saw her mother and
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Emma
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not usually a fan of biography but this was truly fascinating: an homage to the single woman. As with many people of genius, her work never really brought her fame or wealth during her lifetime ( she made about £600) over her lifetime). The historical context of her life, spanning the napoleonic war, the details of the bawdy rowdy Georgian years and sensibilities, the irony that Austen, creator of the modern romantic sensibility should herself never marry or find that kind of love, very much ...more
Anna Luce
★★★✰✰ 2.5 stars

Although I did—for the most part—find Lucy Worsley's prose to be compelling, I thought that many of her arguments were unconvincing and biased.
Of course historians have their biases, but shouldn't they at least try to distance themselves from their subject?
The problem I have with this biography props up in the author's introduction:

“While I’ll try to put Jane back into her social class and time, I must admit that I also write as a signed up ‘Janeite’, a devotee and worshipper. I
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Anne
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anne by: Candi
I was completely unprepared for how much I would love this biography of Jane Austen. For some reason, I expected it to get bogged down in too much detail or for it to be too academic. She does touch on some academic disputes in some areas but only enough to pique my interest.

Lucy Worsley writes beautifully and seamlessly and her interest in and enthusiasm for in her subject is contagious. This is a very long book that it is fascinating from beginning to end. Not surprisingly, Jane had a strong
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Leigh
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2018
As the title suggests this book is about the life of Jane Austen. It's written in a very accessible way and is therefore very easy to read. Some of the chapters are longer than others though, I read the book on my Kindle and most of the chapters were 8-10 minutes long. But a couple were 30 minutes long! Although this didn't impact my reading or enjoyment at all, I think this might be irksome to some. There is also a lot of information packed into the book and therefore the chapters, so people ma ...more
Teresa
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic read. I've read a few Jane Austen Biographies and some were a bit high brow and I had to trudge through others. It's all change with this one. The chapters were laid out clear and concisely. It started with her early days and went right through in order. As usual the chapter about her death is extremely sad but very well done. I thought I knew all there was to know about Jane but I picked up some new snippets here.
I was pulled into this book as soon as I started reading. I s
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Diane Barnes
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bedtime-books
First, thanks to Candi for bringing this to my attention. I am definitely a Jane Austen fan, but was always of the opinion that not much was known about her life because her sister Cassandra had burned many of her letters, at Jane's request. But in fact, a great deal is known about her because a great many letters survived, she had a large family interested in preserving her legacy, and her novels themselves contain many clues to her life and times.

Lucy Worsley gives us Jane's life through the p
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My_Strange_Reading
BOOK 100!!!! 😱😱😱😱

#mystrangereading Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley ⭐️⭐️⭐️ A very interesting look at Jane Austen and her family's life. It was clearly very well researched, and I appreciate how as it followed her life it paralleled the books she wrote. Biographies are difficult for me to get through, but I found this one to be engaging enough to keep me curious and reading!

🏠 My biggest issue with this book was how she inserted quotes from the novels as though the character's dialogue was pr
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Kristin Davison
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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I would like to thank the publisher for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of Austen, Worsley has come out with a lively biography that focuses on Austen’s homes (or lack of them). This angle gives an interesting insight into how Austen lived her life day to day and how much this influenced her work.
Worsley’s style of writing is clear, entertaining and easy to read, I flew through the book. The information that is presen
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Abi White
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am a massive Janite, but am still Shocked that I have read a biography at such a pace. This really did "feel" more like a work of fiction, and managed to be fun despite doing nothing to gloss over the fact that being a poor unmarried "gentleman's daughter" sounds like my idea of hell.

I will certainly be seeking out Lucy Worsley's other books, and will be making a pilgrimage to some of the places described in such great detail.

I cried at the end. Does that count as a spoiler?
Leslie
This is a meticulously researched bio of Jane Austen, warts and all. We follow Jane and her family from home to home, including schools, visits, vacations, assemblies, even occasional Inns. This is a book by a Janeite for Janeites. There were some points where I was reading about cousins and neighbors and wondering 'wait where is Jane in all this again?'

You really understand the 'genteel' poverty the Austen women suffered from after her father's death. And will marvel at how some relatives of me
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Lisa
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[4.5] Worsley brilliantly and delightfully details Jane Austen's domestic life - her homes, habits, finances, writing, family relationships and more. The author's focus on the minute details of Jane's life was never tedious but quite captivating. Through the window of Jane's life, I also learned a great deal about life in Georgian England. I loved listening to Ruth Redman's wonderful audio narration.
Damaskcat
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.

Lucy Worsley succeeds in presenting a three dimensional Jane Austen in this fascinating biography. She shows how the Austen family tried to sanitise the picture which was presented to the world after Jane's death but the evidence is still there if you choose to look for it. By reference to previous biographies, primary sources, the novels themselves and the juvenilia the author pieces together a very much more robust picture - warts and all.

It i
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Antonomasia
Lucy Worsley only narrates the introduction and epilogue of this audiobook, I was initially disappointed to discover. But Ruth Redman's reading of the main narrative preserves enough of Worsley's trademark enthusiasm to make it likeable and engaging, whilst lending a calm, measured tone suited to background listening. By the time the epilogue came round, I actually found it easier to listen to Redman as pure audio, whilst Worsley's highly animated style - reflecting her joy in talking about subj ...more
Amy
2.5 Stars
In some respects, this book was a worthy addition to the saturated world Jane Austen biographies. It centers around the idea of the importance of a home in Jane Austen's life and writing. I enjoyed the author's emphasis about the single - and married - women who impacted Jane Austen's life and the way they banded about her. This is particularly contrasted with her more erratic brothers' behavior.
Yet honestly, this book was a trudge to get through. I do not care for Lucy Worsley's style
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Eliza
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a little embarrassing to admit how much I cried at the end of this book -- especially since it's not like I didn't know how things would end! But I think my strong emotional reaction is a testament to how deeply Lucy Worsley draws you into Jane Austen's world. And despite my (many) tears during the last chapters, the vast majority of this book is enjoyable to read. I love how Worsley takes little things like furniture purchases and uses them to examine the day to day details of Jane Austen' ...more
G.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One, it is indeed a tragedy Jane died so early. Two, Victorian whitewashing of Jane's character by the general public and her family was vexing. Three, poor George Austen (one of the older Austen brothers). Worsley's "except George" simply killed me. And four, Jane Austen at Home might have been a random purchase, but it definitely turned out to be a lucky pick. A very comprehensive biography, definitely worth picking up.
Nancy
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have been reading Jane and about Jane for thirty-nine years. I found Jane Austen at Home to be revealing and thoughtful, expanding my understanding, and bringing Jane to life as a living, breathing woman. I so enjoyed every bit of Jane Austen at Home.

"Miss Austen's merits have long been established beyond a question: she is, emphatically, the novelist of home."Richard Bentley, publishing Jane Austen's novels in 1833

Worsley offers this quotation at the beginning of her Introduction. The searc
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QNPoohBear
A new biography focusing on the domestic life of Jane Austen by historian and curator Lucy Worsley. Lucy Worsley takes into consideration the most recent scholarship on Austen and draws conclusions from examining private papers to attempt to flesh out the mere facts known about Jane Austen's life.

While Lucy Worsley is a fun and engaging TV presenter, her writing style is a bit dry. This reads like a traditional biography and not one of her TV shows, unfortunately. Having read extensively about J
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Siria
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
This year is the bicentenary of Jane Austen's death, and Lucy Worsley's biography is an excellent memorial to her. The prose does at times get a bit affected, but this is overall a warm, clear-eyed look at the life of a pioneering author. Worsley is careful to avoid sensationalism—she neatly dismantles, for instance, the old canard that Tom Lefroy was the "real Mr. Darcy", the love of Austen's life who got away—or the temptation to assume that all of Austen's heroines are somehow copies of her, ...more
Kirsti
Did you know that Jane Austen had an aunt named Philadelphia who most likely was a sex worker? I did not. I also didn't know that Covent Garden was the red-light district of London back in the day and that "apprentice hat maker" was often a euphemism for "performs sex work on the side." Poor Phila, just trying to survive after her parents died and her uncle left all his money to her brother for his education.

Also, did you know that in her private letters Jane made jokes about sodomy? Very witty
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Tiffany
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher. I enjoyed Worsley's approach in explaining Jane Austen's life according to her residences. The enthusiasm and detail that shines through kept me engaged from page one through to the conclusion. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to gain insight into the life of Jane Austen-not just her works, but how she lived her day to day. I can also see this as a useful companion book to a class being taught about Jane Austen, particularl ...more
H.A. Leuschel
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fascinating read! It is obvious that the author has thoroughly researched the life of Jane Austen and the bibliography at the end of the book is incredible. I really felt like Jane Austen's life came alive in front of my eyes as I progressed through the book and I purposely took my time to read it! Highly recommended if you are interested in a detailed portrait of one of England's best loved authors of all times.
Antoinette
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
This is probably the longest audio book I have listened to to date. The narrator, Ruth Redman, was absolutely excellent. I think this is the kind of book I would love to reread just to see the words and the photos shared in the book.

This book illuminated Jane’s life and struggles. The struggles were for the most part monetary. It was wonderful to enter her life and move with her from home to home and being introduced to her family and friends. The author takes the time to bring each location to
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I was born in Reading (not great, but it could have been Slough), studied Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford, and I've got a PhD in art history from the University of Sussex.

My first job after leaving college was at a crazy but wonderful historic house called Milton Manor in Oxfordshire. Here I would give guided tours, occasionally feed the llamas, and look for important pieces of p
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There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
34 likes · 12 comments
“And Jane all her life would be interested in ordinary, unexceptional girls and what might happen to them. Her quietest heroine of all, Fanny Price, had ‘no glow of complexion, nor any other striking beauty’, while Catherine Morland had ‘nothing heroic’ about her, and was ‘occasionally stupid’. Jane’s great achievement would be to let even the ordinary, flawed, human girls who read her books think that they might be heroines too.” 5 likes
“Every generation gets the ‘Jane Austen’ it deserves.” 2 likes
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