Monday, November 7, 2022

11/7/2022 Godmersham Park @GillHornby, @Pegasus_Books, @Austenprose


· Title: Godmersham Park: A Novel of the Austen Family

· Author: Gill Hornby

· Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Historical Fiction, Austenesque

· Publisher: ‎Pegasus Books (November 1, 2022)

· Length: (416) pages

· Format: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook

· ISBN: 978-1639362585

· Tour Dates: October 24 – November 13, 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.


· "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

· Hornby’s skillful mix of fact and fiction captures the complexities of the Austens and their era, and her crisp, nimble prose sparkles throughout. Best of all, Hornby genuinely channels the sentiment of 19th-century English literature. Janeites aren’t the only readers who will relish this smart, tender tale."— Publishers Weekly, starred review

· “…a well-written and delightfully observant novel…an excellent read.”— The Historical Novel Society




When I first heard about Godmersham Park and that the story was about Anne Sharpe, a governess that worked with the Austen family, I was all over this book. I was so fascinated in learning about every facet of Jane Austen's life, that books like these have me intrigued and excited to read. More than that, I enjoy learning about the role of women in the early part of 1800's, that tells the story about the complexities of societal class, position, friendships, and matters of the heart. 

In 1804, Anne Sharp in need to support herself after the death of her mother, and with not much help from her estranged father, finds herself the only position a young unmarried woman in poor disposition would have, as a governess. Anne's charge is Franny Knight, Jane Austen's twelve-year-old niece. Through Anne's time there, she develops a special kinship with Jane and the attention of Jane's brother Henry. Anne finds herself in a precarious situation where she is neither family nor is she servant, and finding the balance in navigating her role is crucial to her livelihood. 

Gill Hornby proves herself adept in Austen's world through immense research and imagining, creating a phenomenal story that is about a woman who is clever enough to play the game of survival that is required of women in the Regency period. I enjoyed the pace of the story as well as learning about the family. 

I highly recommend!


Gill Hornby is the author of the novels Miss Austen, 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.




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