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Jane Austen’s books are full of hidden mysteries for the modern reader. Why on earth would Elizabeth Bennet be expected to consider a suitor like foolish Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice? Would Lydia's 'infamous elopement' truly have ruined her family and her other sisters’ chances to marry? Why were the Dashwood women thrown out of their home after Mr. Dashwood's death in Sense and Sensibility, and what was the problem with secret engagements anyway? And then there are settlements, pin money, marriage articles and many other puzzles for today’s Austen lovers.
Customs have changed dramatically in the two centuries since Jane Austen wrote her novels. Beyond the differences in etiquette and speech, words that sound familiar to us are often misleading. References her original readers would have understood leave today’s readers scratching their heads and missing important implications.
Take a step into history with Maria Grace as she explores the customs, etiquette and legalities of courtship and marriage in Jane Austen's world. Packed with information and rich with detail from Austen's novels, Maria Grace casts a light on the sometimes bizarre rules of Regency courtship and unravels the hidden nuances in Jane Austen's works.
Did you ever want to know more about the customs and laws that ruled the day regarding courtship and marriage in Jane Austen’s lifetime?
I received an eARC of this book from the author for a fair and honest review.
Readers of Jane Austen’s novels know that love and marriage take center stage in her characters’ lives; after all, marriage provided most women with the greatest opportunities that they would have for financial security and a respectable, fulfilling life. Austen’s stories provide readers with an in-depth look into the daily lives and values of the Middle-Class Englishmen of her time. It’s easy to enjoy Jane Austen’s books as romance stories, but I believe that to fully appreciate her work, readers should also understand her stories as illustrations of the male-centered world she lived in over two hundred years ago.
Thankfully, Maria Grace’s latest book in her Jane Austen Regency Life Series, Courtship & Marriage in Jane Austen’s World gives readers a look at the customs, traditions, and laws that pertained to men and women during Austen’s lifetime, and while some things may still be the same today, the more important fact is that many aspects of courtship and marriage were very different from our present day lives and understanding these differences offers readers the opportunities to appreciate Austen’s stories even more!
In her well-researched book, Mrs. Grace combines facts and real-life situations from hundreds of years ago and explains to her readers in her engaging voice how this information pertained to Austen’s very own characters.
I loved how Mrs. Grace took the time to inform her reader about a certain custom and/or law and then she would provide a specific example of how this custom or law unfolded within the storylines of one of Jane Austen’s novels. Reading several of these examples even made me eager to go back and reread certain parts of Austen’s stories in an attempt to reexamine these scenes with this additional information in mind. This book can serve as a helpful companion guide for readers who enjoy exploring stories that take place during the Regency period and is a must-have for JAFF authors and readers who want to deepen their knowledge of these topics by reading a book that also has a friendly and inviting tone.
Throughout this nonfiction book, Maria Grace explores numerous aspects of courtship and marriage, ranging from how men and women were introduced to one another, the rules surrounding courtship, the games partners played during their courtships, and the various phases and customs surrounding engagements and weddings.
She even includes fascinating insights into how men and women lived after their marriages, including their lives as widows and widowers, and the possibilities of remarriage. Her final chapters describe intimate matters between men and women in and out of marriage; therefore this book is suited for mature readers.
The appendix includes a recipe for an early wedding cake, offered by Elizabeth Raffald, which was the first recipe to offer the combination of bridal cake, almond paste, and royal icing. It certainly is the making of a delicious tradition!
Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing. She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six new novels in the works, attended seven period balls, sewn eight Regency era costumes, shared her life with nine cats through the years and published her tenth book last year.
To connect with Maria Grace, check out the links below:
On Amazon.com: http://amazon.com/author/mariagrace
Random Bits of Fascination (http://RandomBitsofFascination.com)
Austen Variations (http://AustenVariations.com)
English Historical Fiction Authors
On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace
On Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mariagrace423/
Maria Grace would like to offer a giveaway of one ebook of “Courtship & Marriage in Jane Austen’s World” to one lucky Just Jane 1813 reader. To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this post by midnight, ET, on October 10th. The winner will be announced on this blog on October 11, 2016.
Several weeks ago, Maria Grace visited Just Jane 1813 to answer questions about this new book. Please feel free to visit this post for more background information.
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