Mar 162011

A Heroine’s Guide for Surviving Life in a Regency Novel

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

Imagine that you were Amanda Price from Lost in Austen or Courtney Stone from Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and you found yourself inexplicably transported to the time period of Jane Austen’s novels. Would you be able to pass yourself off as a Regency heroine? Or would your ignorance of Regency manners and mores leave you to be a scorned and shunned outcast? Would you know the proper way to decline an unwanted marriage proposal or how to indicate interest in a gentleman without seeming forward?

Best to be prepared for these sorts of things, you never know when you might wake up and find yourself in the pages of an Austen novel!

Even if you are not anticipating an excursion to Regency England, you’ve probably come across a behavior or custom in Jane Austen’s novels that you’d like better explained. The answers to many of your queries can be found in The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C. Sullivan. The Jane Austen Handbook is an inviting and enlightening handbook that includes gorgeous supplementary illustrations by Kathryn Rathke and an attractive burgundy-colored print and theme. In this volume, Ms. Sullivan expounds upon many aspects of Regency life, such as: transportation, servants, writing letters, card games, and types of dances. In addition, the organization and simplicity of this book makes it very accessible and user-friendly.If only Amanda Price or Courtney Stone had such a tool at their disposal!

What I enjoyed most about this delightful tome was Ms. Sullivan’s light-hearted and satiric tone. Ms. Sullivan pokes fun at her readers, often gives ironic advice, and cannot always be taken seriously. For instance, if the reader wants to know how to indicate their interest in a gentleman, the author recommends asking said gentleman to go “stargazing.” “Everyone knows what that means. If not, he must be rather clueless, and perhaps you should rethink your affection.” Another bit advice includes offering to perform little services for him. “Mending his pen might be one step from mending his stockings.” I loved finding tidbits like this one that reference characters or situations in Jane Austen’s novels! Some of my other favorite passages include “How to Avoid Dancing with an Undesirable Partner” and “How to Get an Invitation to a Country House Party.”

As the reader can see this is no dry and dusty etiquette manual! When perusing this volume, readers will find plenty of sense mixed in with the pithy observatons. I especially enjoyed the extensive appendix section which included a biography of Jane Austen, index, and glossary. While this might not be the most in-depth or scholarly guide to Regency England, it is one that I found most edifying and amusing!

Sensible, witty, and accessible, this petite volume is perfect for newcomers to the world of Jane Austen, long-time admirers, and all heroines in training. I highly recommend!


Is your interest piqued?  Would you like to read Ms. Sullivan’s guide for proper lifeskills in Regency England?  Would you like to own a copy?

Thanks to the kind and generous people at Quirk Books I have two BRAND NEW COPIES of The Jane Austen Handbook to give away!  Apologies to my international friends, this giveaway is available to US residents only.  (Don’t worry, I’ll host an international giveaway soon, promise!)

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment with your EMAIL ADDRESS below!

+1 for following

+1 for tweeting, posting, or facebooking about this giveaway!

This contest will end March 23rd.   Good luck and thank you for entering!!!
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  19 Responses to “The Jane Austen Handbook – Margaret C. Sullivan + GIVEAWAY!!!”


    I’d love to read this book! Thanks for the chance

    donnyandshelly at yahoo dot com


    I follow you on GFC


    I already follow your blog and I’ve posted to FB (Jenna Czaplewski

    Austenesque Reviews: The Jane Austen Handbook – Margaret C. Sullivan + GIVEAWAY!!!
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    and Twitter (Austenesque Reviews: The Jane Austen Handbook – Margaret C. Sullivan + …!


    what a great contest!


    I followed you via GFC


    This looks like a fun book! Would love to have it!



    I’d love to have The Jane Austen Handbook!


    I follow on twitter, google reader and facebook


    This is a great book–I bought the hardcopy when it came out.

    “Sensible, witty, and accessible” is the perfect summation–I have given it as a gift several times, and on that note, I would like to enter the contest (even though I already own a copy) because if I win it will be donated to my JASNA group, where it will be shared again and again.

    Just tweeted (@JanetGS) too, will FB later.


    Great giveaway!!

    GFC follower


    This book looks so funny! Please enter me!
    I am a follower.


    I love this book but don’t have a copy. I already follow your delightful blog and just posted a link to this giveaway at Facebook. I’ll post a link to my blog in a minute.


    I would like to enter!


    I’ve read the one from the library but don’t have my own copy. I’d love the opportunity. Please enter me as well with your other faithful followers. schafsue at gmail dot com


    I love when things are done with a sense of humor, so I would love to win a copy. I tweeted and I’m one of your earliest followers. Does that count? 🙂


    Since I’m not staying in US or Canada, please do not enter me. Just want to say that I love reading this delightful etiquette book and just yesterday, I recommended this book to my colleague. Good things should be shared I suppose.


    Sounds like a great book! I’d love to own a copy!


    Sounds lovely! I’d be thrilled to win!

    Thanks for the chance!

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