Apr 122013

Improving Your Cents and Sensibility!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Reference, Guide, Self-Help

RECOMMENDED FOR: Readers looking to stretch their wallets, become savvy spenders, and practice sensible “method, moderation, and economy.”


  • After reading Jane Austen’s remarks about “vulgar economy” and liking “pewter,” I’m curious to learn more about her spending habits and financial practices.
  • I love Berkley Books because they publish great Austenesque novels like: The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James, Dear Mr. Darcy by Amanda Grange, and Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos.
  • I won’t deny it – I’m a bargain shopper and I’m always looking for ways to save some green! 🙂

  • Thoroughness and Organization: With fifteen chapters, Kathleen Anderson and Susan Jones cover an extensive range and give advice on many different aspects of economy and finance proving that there are numerous areas for savvy individuals to reduce their spending! Whether in your kitchen, your closet, your bathroom, or your travels. Dividing the book into chapters pertaining to each separate aspect of economy, whether it be furniture, clothing, beauty products is very useful and accessible for readers in search of specific financial wisdom.
  • Clever Character Tie-Ins: I loved how each chapter featured a different Austen character as a positive (or sometimes negative) example of economy. Who better to learn household economy and management from than Charlotte Lucas? Who better than Lydia Bennet to remind readers to use caution when shopping for clothing and apparel? (No, Lydia you do not need another ugly bonnet!)
  • Charming Wit: “It’s best not to bluntly critique the home of one’s host and to call him ‘as stupid as the weather’ if he doesn’t own a billiards table. You’ll live. Perhaps you could focusing on endeavoring to be genuinely droll.” (page 179) – in other words, don’t behave like Mr. Palmer if you want to be considered a good houseguest! I greatly enjoyed the playful comments and comical references the authors made throughout this volume. It just goes to show you, even when discussing something as serious and practical as money matters, there is always room for wit and sport.


  • Resources and Redundancy: This book could have been so much more useful and valuable if it included more recipes, patterns, and step-by-step guides. Instead of telling readers that they can find many “recipes for natural skin treatments in books and online,” (page 115) include some recipe inserts throughout the chapter or at the end. Instead of steering readers in the direction of DIY magazines and blogs to get tips on how to remake their wardrobes, share a couple patterns or step-by-step guides at the end of the chapter. I would have loved to have seen some featured resources like pictorial patterns, diagrams, recipes, and such over in this book rather than repeated recommendations of looking online.
  • Mrs. Norris: I’m not sure if this was meant to be taken tongue-and-cheek or not, but there was a list called “Aunt Norris’s Top Ten Aggressive Tips for Ferreting Out Free Treasures, (pages 205-215) which advised adopting Mrs. Norris-like habits of sponging and finagling freebies. It felt a little distasteful – I don’t think Jane Austen would ever advocate behaving in any shape or form similar to Mrs. Norris.


While it is easily recognized that Jane Austen’s novels and characters teach readers valuable lessons about love, relationships, moral conduct, many may overlook the fact that they provide sensible counsel in matters of economy and living withing one’s means! I greatly appreciated and enjoyed gaining insightful wisdom from thrifty and financially savvy characters like Charlotte Collins, Anne Elliott, Catherine Morland, Miss Bates, and even Lucy Steele!


The kind people at Berkley Books have donated one lovely copy of Jane Austen’s Guide to Thrift for me to give away to one lucky winner!  SQUEE!!!

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment below!

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  • This giveaway is open to residents in the US.
  • This giveaway ends April 19th.
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21 Comments on "Jane Austen’s Guide to Thrift – Kathleen Anderson and Susan Jones + GIVEAWAY!!!"

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Kendal Stegmann

Wonderful giveaway! Thank you!

kinxsbooknook (at) gmail (dot) com

Candy M

Looks like a cute book! I love being thrifty.

Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

canapple7 (at) cox [dot] com

J. Doe

I’d love to check this one out – thanks!

sprungatlast (at) gmail (dot) com


I’d love to add this to my collection. Thank you for the giveaway!!!


Very interesting review. I too enjoy being thrifty as well as needing to be thrifty…smiles. I haven’t read a book like this based on Austen. I’d love to read it as well as all the other commenters.
schafsue at gmail dot com


I love being thrifty too, suzan! Learning new ideas and ways to save allows for a bigger book budget! 🙂


This comment has been removed by the author.


What a clever idea for a book! I’m sure Jane would approve.

dancingcelt at gmail dot com


This books sounds as if Janeites will feel closer to Jane from a whole new perspective!
Catherine Commons
Puyallup WA
catcommons at comcast dot net


It does, it is amazing how many different ways we can connect with Jane Austen and her characters!


thank you for this giveaway!!!!!

cyn209 at juno dot com

Jakki Leatherberry

Wonderful review, Meredith! I am always looking for ways to save money. I am looking forward to reading the Austen tie-ins on stretching a buck. Thanks for the giveaway!
Jakki36 at yahoo dot com


I saw this @ RoP and thought it looked cute! Thanks for your review. Now want to read this even more! Thanks for the giveaway and for your great website!
joanna015 [AT] hotmail [DOT] com

Eva E

Eva E
Thank you for your review. I look forward for savy advice on ways to save money but more especially our beloved Jane Austen personalities and their views on saving money or spending! We certainly know that many did not practice economy.
emedmonds at my ac tv dot net


I loved the character examples – yes, some characters are perfect cautionary tales and models of “what not to do!”


This is wonderful. Thanks for this great review. Unique and special. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com


Interesting and delightful. many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Nancy Kelley

I’ve watched your status updates as you read this, getting more and more curious. Now I think I need to read it myself!


Barbara Tiller Cole

Intriguing book Meredith! I would love to get a chance to read it. Good review.

pianobarb56 at gmail dot com

Kelli H.

Lovely review, Meredith. This book looks like fun. I love to be thrifty and find great deals! Thanks for the giveaway!!


This sounds intriguing!

LOSTfan2011 (twitter)

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