Jane Austen's England

Jane Austen's England - Roy Adkins, Lesley Adkins

I am so glad that I happened to see that one of the people that I was following on BookLikes was reading this book. I am a big fan of Jane Austen and I knew that once I saw this book I wouldn't be happy until I read it. This book describes life in England during Jane Austen's time (the late 18th century and early 19th century). While I love Jane Austen, I was glad that this didn't just focus on her but discussed what life was like for everyone during those times. The book does mention certain people (William Holland, James Woodforde, Nelly Weeton, and others) that lived during that time who wrote letters or kept diaries and readers get to know them throughout the chapters but it also describes what life would be like in general.


This book is organized in chapters that discuss different topics of life (and death) during the time period. I enjoyed the chapters on marriage, and childbirth the most. Some of the wedding traditions seem downright strange, like a bride getting married naked so that her debts don't attach to her husband. I was amazed to read one announcement from a newspaper talking about a woman who had just had her thirty-second child. That poor, poor woman. Another thing I learned was that when a person was going out to conduct important business it was lucky to throw and old show after them. Someone remind me when I start interviewing for a paralegal position to have my sister throw old shoes at me.


I would recommend that not only fans of Jane Austen read this but also anyone interested in learning more about what life was like during the late 18th century and early 19th century in England.


(Reading updates after the break)


Page 105:

This has been fascinating so far. I've post-it flagged some passages (specifically from the chapter on childbirth that I found particularly interesting. One of them mentions a women who gave birth to her thirty-second child. Oh my, that poor woman. The other thing that I found interesting was the tradition of cutting cheese while a child is being born and then passing the child through a ring of that cheese at the child's christening. I was horrified while reading about some of the working conditions of children back then. I am looking forward to reading more.


Page 12:

I am really enjoying reading about marriage traditions from Jane Austen's time. I'm not quite sure that I would go along with getting married naked so that my husband didn't become attached to my debts (Honey, I think you can suffer from a couple of my bills because I am not being naked in front of the whole church. I am not having the priest see me naked.) I just read the part about the tradition of throwing the bride's stocking. I can only imagine that happening now. Honey don't get handsy yet (yes I just said 'handsy,' it doesn't sound as creepy as 'frisky') my bridesmaids still have to throw my stockings at me.