review: Behind Jane Austen’s Door

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behindjaneaustensdoorBehind Jane Austen’s Door

by Jennifer Forest

You can read scores of Regency novels and never quite know the proper etiquette for visiting, or the hierarchy of social classes and what is expected of each. You see the romantic and gentlemanly side of the characters, but never the societal rules governing who can speak to whom, and who you should (or shouldn’t) want to make a connection with.

Each room of the house has its purpose and uses; Each has a set of tasks, if any, that are acceptable within that sphere. With quotes from Jane Austen’s letters to her sister, Cassandra, and from her novels, the author explains the ins and outs of the Regency home and the social customs surrounding it.

The making and buying of clothes, crafts and furniture is touched on, as well as the all-important obsession with marriage, as it was the gentlewoman’s only career and her future well-being and happiness depended on its success. There is a wealth of information in this short–though completely relevant–book and it is a must for anyone who wants to understand the entirety of the Regency world.