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The Jane Austen Handbook: Proper Life Skills…

The Jane Austen Handbook: Proper Life Skills from Regency England

by Margaret C. Sullivan

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This is an adorable little guide of how to lead life in the Regency era. The tips were cute and informational. It just made me think of all the wonderful moments in Austen's books. I think if you're an Austen fan it's definitely worth reading, if not owning. What lady doesn't want to know how to catch and keep the man of her dreams according to Recency England's standards? ( )
  MillieHennessy | Nov 7, 2013 |
I love Sullivan's fanfiction P&P/Northanger Abbey crossover, The Firstborn, so this purchase is my royalty payment. Handbook is fun and has an entertaining arch tone, but I didn’t find it terribly educational; many of her lists are simply examples drawn from Austen’s books, rather than supporting material showing that these really are the customs of Austen’s time. It’s cute, but honestly, if I’d read it at the library, that would’ve sufficed. ( )
  castiron | May 10, 2013 |
(Received from publisher for review)
The information is broken up into manageable nuggets and filed under 4 categories: Jane Austen's World; Everyday Activities; Making Love; and Social Gatherings (full 'titles' shortened). These delightfully informative (not to mention entertaining) chapters are interspersed with Austen references, and stand-alone pages of more detailed particulars (like 'entailment' and 'professions').

In short, if you adore Jane Austen's world and characters, and would much rather be touring the Lake District or having balls, but aren't quite sure how to fit into that world without appearing painfully out of place? You should give the Jane Austen Handbook a read - it will clear things up considerably! (Including that delightful little tidbit of Mr. Darcy's 10,000 a year - what is he worth in current American money? Oh, just wait and see!) There's also a brief biography of Jane, synopsis of her novels and characters, a glossary (for those tricky words) and additional resources. A Janeite's reference-dream in one fun little package! ( )
  RivkaBelle | May 6, 2011 |
I am an unabashed Janeite. I’ve read all of her novels and most of her smaller/unfinished books. I love her writing; the social observations, the wonderful characters, the love stories, the relationships between sisters, everything.

So when Margaret Sullivan, (creator of the blog Austenblog.com), re-released her book The Jane Austen Handbook, I knew I needed to read it. This is a book that someone like me just soaks up. It’s wonderful to learn more about the time period Jane wrote about. It provides an added depth and context to her work because it gives a better understanding to how livings were made and kept and why women wanted to find husbands so badly.

The book offers information on the etiquette of the time. You learn about how to dress, where to vacation, how to pay a call, how to court, etc. If you’ve ever wondered what it meant to “take the waters” you’ll learn that to.

It’s the perfect companion book to Austen’s novels. I always wondered exactly what kind of card game whist was and what all was involved in becoming “accomplished.” The handbook has step-by-step instructions and illustrations on anything you could possible relate to Austen.

If you love Austen, or even that time period, definitely pick it up. If you couldn’t care less, this one’s probably not for you, but then the title tells you that from the get go.

**My copy was provided by Quirk Books ( )
  bookworm12 | Mar 31, 2011 |
Informative, impertinent and indispensable - a fun how-to book for any unaccomplished young lady

Everyone loves a new frock to brighten their day, and authors are as equally excitable when it comes to re-issues of their works. We were very happy for Margaret C. Sullivan of AustenBlog fame when we learned that her excellent The Jane Austen Handbook (2007) hardcover edition was getting a second go round from its publisher Quirk Books in a new and more accessible paperback format. Not only does the pretty new cover catch the eye, the price leaves a bit more pewter in ones pocket without any changes to the original text and illustrations.

Filled with pertinent facts that every Regency Miss should be aware of to become truly accomplished, it is easy for us to recommend this great little how-to book to our readers because we have used it personally over the past four years whenever we had a question regarding deportment, dancing, playing an instrument, frock shopping and making love (in the Regency context mind you) – the top five most critical social aspects to any young Regency ladies life. One can also throw in letter writing, entertaining house guests and managing a household and just about anything else our dear Austen heroines Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse or Anne Elliot already know that might qualify them as a truly accomplished young lady in Mr. Darcy’s eyes. We shall not add Catherine Morland and Fanny Price into the mix. They are exceptions to the rule and shall be forgiven their lack of education, and might well benefit from this slim volume.

Besides being wise, this volume is also very witty, and that is where we take full enjoyment of its tongue-in-cheek manner. Who would not want to know how to choose a prospective husband (What? They do not choose us? Is that not the unspoken belief among all beaux?), how to decline an unwanted marriage proposal (Lizzy Bennet might offer some advice to Fanny Price on this too!), carry off a secret engagement (Lucy Steele and Jane Fairfax would benefit from modern Prozac no doubt), or elope to Gretna Green (Lydia Bennet FAIL). There are also other tidbits that really made us laugh too. Each page turn brought more delightful and humorous illustrations by Kathryn Rathke and informative vignettes of examples from Jane Austen’s novels like: Who Died and Made Mr. Collins the Heir of Longbourn? or the Worst (and Funniest) Proposals in Jane Austen’s Novels. *snort*

Informative, impertinent and indispensable, The Jane Austen Handbook is a must have for anyone eager to understand anything from the obvious to the nuanced differences of society in Regency England. Lest we think this frivolous fare, it also contains a brief, but well-written bio of Jane Austen, summaries of the major novels and minor works, a glossary, a list of modern film adaptions through 2007, resources online: websites and blogs (we are forgotten, *sniff*), Austen societies, Austen places to visit, libraries and archives, and a select bibliography. Lastly, we know that Mary Bennet would happily offer her pedantic stamp of approval of this volume because it contains a full index for ease of access to Janeites on the fast track to becoming truly accomplished.

Laurel Ann, Austenprose ( )
  Austenprose | Mar 14, 2011 |
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"What is it about Jane Austen anyway?" (Introduction)
Well-bred young ladies must acquire a store of accomplishments that are of no practical use and are, therefore, quite attractive to gentlemen.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A Jane Austen companion offers a guide to daily life in Regency England, providing guidance on graceful living, love among the social classes, dress, and the practicalities of everyday life.

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