Book Review: The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C. Sullivan

As a long-time Austen (not to mention Regency history) fan, I looked forward to reading this book.  It’s a nicely designed thing – a compact hardcover book with a sympathetically Regency cover, and is lavishly illustrated in the same style throughout.  It also is in a lovely cream paper and reddish brown text, which is appropriately vintage in appearance.

What I wanted to know first of all, was what this book intended to be.  After reading just a small part, it was clear that although every effort has been made to be as factual as possible, it is meant to be a fun book.  It is certainly easy to dip into as it is broken up into the right clothes to wear (Choose and Buy Clothing), and how to entertain at home etc. (Run a Great House/Throw a Dinner Party).  Note – only a small thing, but occasionally it slips into Americanisms and modern slang, but again this is very minor.  It has a useful glossary and bibliography for those wanting to learn more also.

It has an witty, engaging style and is an elegantly designed book.  I would recommend this book as an entertaining companion if you have Austen’s novels, or if you plan to read them.  It may also be used as a good short introduction to the Regency era.

The Jane Austen Handbook is available to purchase in hardcover format now.  Readers please note I received a review copy of this book only.