A wonderful trip in time, straight into Jane’s world.
As a Janeite, it always delights me to find books that take me close to Jane Austen and her domestic life. Godmersham Park was a wonderful trip in time, straight into Jane’s world.
Print Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Pegasus Books (Nov 1, 2022)
A richly imagined novel inspired by the true story of Anne Sharp, a governess who became very close with Jane Austen and her family by the #1 International bestselling-author of Miss Austen.
On January 21, 1804, Anne Sharpe arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent to take up the position of governess. At thirty-one years old, she has no previous experience of either teaching or fine country houses. Her mother has died, and she has nowhere else to go. Anne is left with no choice. For her new charge—twelve-year-old Fanny Austen—Anne’s arrival is all novelty and excitement.
The governess role is a uniquely awkward one. Anne is neither one of the servants, nor one of the family, and to balance a position between the “upstairs” and “downstairs” members of the household is a diplomatic chess game. One wrong move may result in instant dismissal. Anne knows that she must never let down her guard.
When Mr. Edward Austen’s family comes to stay, Anne forms an immediate attachment to Jane. They write plays together, and enjoy long discussions. However, in the process, Anne reveals herself as not merely pretty, charming, and competent; she is clever too. Even her sleepy, complacent, mistress can hardly fail to notice.
Meanwhile Jane’s brother, Henry, begins to take an unusually strong interest in the lovely young governess. And from now on, Anne’s days at Godmersham Park are numbered.
From the Publisher’s Blurb
Links provided by the publisher
The book tells the story of Anne Sharpe, governess to Jane Austen’s niece, Fanny, and her time at their estate Godmersham Park.
As a Janeite, it always delights me to find books that take me close to Jane Austen and her domestic life. Godmercham Park was a wonderful trip in time, straight into Jane’s world.
The author expertly immerses the reader into the regency world and its rigid social classes, which extended not only to the servants but also to the very members of the family and their distinct financial situations.
Anne’s story was sadly the story of many women who had fallen on hard times and were forced into service, but it was extraordinary because of her friendship with Jane, her sister Cassandra, and their mom.
It was interesting to observe Jane in her daily life, facing her dose of family drama, loving, and being loved in return by her relatives.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
Praise for Godmersham Park
This is a deeply imagined and deeply moving novel. Reading it made me happy and weepy in equally copious amounts. “I read it straight through without looking up.”— Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Bookclub
If you love Jane Austen, you’re sure to enjoy Gill Hornby’s stylish glimpse into the life of young governess Anne Sharp. This elegantly written tale skillfully recreates a world where governesses are midway between the family upstairs and the servants downstairs.”— The Independent
The great writer is brought to life in this clever, well-researched piece of fiction.”— The Times(London)
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About the Author
Gill Hornby is the author of the novels The Hive and All Together Now, as well as The Story of Jane Austen, a biography of Austen for young readers. She lives in Kintbury, England, with her husband and their four children.