Miss Austen, Will You Please Honor Me with this Next Dance?
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
Fine white muslin, warm negus, dainty slippers, dancing masters – oh how I wished I lived in a time where towns had assembly balls, couples danced in figures, and young men considered “a country dance as an emblem of marriage!” Jane Austen was so fortunate to live during this age of dancing, elegance, and assemblies; and we know from her novels and letters that she was extremely fond of dancing and balls.
Similar to Tea with Jane Austen and In the Garden with Jane Austen, which are both by Kim Wilson, publisher Frances Lincoln release another exquisite, entertaining, and educational illustrated hardcover book about Jane Austen. Just like the previous two books, A Dance with Jane Austen is well-researched, organized, and visually appealing. With twelve divided chapters, this book covers topics such as: learning to dance, getting ready for a ball, ballroom etiquette, suppers, musicians, and ballroom conversation. There is even a slim chapter titled, “Dance in Jane Austen films,” which I greatly appreciated since Jane Austen films provide brilliant and oftentimes very accurate visuals of Regency balls. I wish this chapter was extended a little bit more though, it was only three pages.
I loved all the valuable nuggets of information I gleaned from this novel! Jane Austen wrote novels for people who understood and lived through her time period. She does not heavily describe events or explain traditions that were commonplace and customary during her life. I had no idea the many responsibilities and great importance placed upon the master of ceremonies before reading this book. In addition, I was amazed and sadden to learn about the poor treatment and harsh lifestyle of hired musicians. When perusing this book, readers will find many more helpful accounts and informative tidbits to boost their understanding of the Regency world!
One aspect I wasn’t too fond of was that nearly all of the beautiful illustrations, images, and Regency prints were without captions. I would have loved to know what specific dances were being illustrated or what scenes in Jane Austen’s novels the Hugh Thomson illustrations were from. In addition, I also wish there were more diagrams and illustrations of dance steps. I would have loved to try out some steps in my living room and imagine I was dancing with Mr. Darcy or Henry Tilney!
I am so delighted and thrilled to have yet another stunning and illuminating book about Jane Austen grace by bookshelf. I hope the wonderful people at Frances Lincoln decide to publish some more! Maybe Games with Jane Austen or Music with Jane Austen could be next???
So what are you waiting for, Janeites? Seize this opportunity and dance a reel!
GIVEAWAY ALERT: Deb at Jane Austen in Vermont has a giveaway of this lovely book currently open on her blog!