Jun 012015

Later Days at HighburyMrs. Goddard Tells All (The Sequel)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Epistolary Novel, Minor Character, Sequel

TIME FRAME: September 1816 (two years after the close of Emma) – December 1816 (with some epilogue content)

MAIN CHARACTERS: Mrs. Goddard, her sister Mrs. Pinkney, Mr. Pinkney, Elizabeth Martin, Louisa Ludgrove, Captain Gordon, and Sophie Adams

WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVEL: After being utterly enchanted by A Visit to Highbury, I had to seek out more from Joan Austen-Leigh! I love epistolary novels and definitely wanted to spend more time with Mrs. Goddard and her outspoken sister, Mrs. Pinkney!

SYNOPSIS: Picking up two years after Jane Austen’s Emma, this sequel continues to illustrate the exchange of letters between these two dear sisters. In this epistolary novel we see a large number of letters exchanged between Mrs. Goddard and Mrs. Pinkney, but we also see letters from Mrs. Elton, Charlotte Marlowe (original character from previous book), and a few others!


  • Oh, To Be In Highbury Again: I find Highbury fascinating and idyllic! I love all of its inhabitants and eagerly look forward to hearing about each and every one of them. Highbury is full of news and interesting events in this sequel – The Knightleys are finally moving to Donwell (now that Mr. Woodhouse has passed away), Mr. John Knightley is letting Hartfield out to a young, wealthy man and his mother, and Miss Bates is moving to Enscombe to live with the Churchills (now that Mrs. Bates has passed away). A lot of change for this small village!
  • New Original Characters: So many new faces and personalities to encounter in this tale! Mrs. Goddard has two new parlor-borders, Louisa and Lavinia Ludgrove, who are vivacious and flighty. The new vicar, Mr. Rutherford, who seems very “diffident and shy,” inspires interest with his single status and reserved nature. And then there is the new tenants of Hartfield, Mr. Pringle and his mother, who create a lot of excitement and commotion when they after not much more than a month in residence, decide to host a grand ball at Hartfield and invite everyone in Highbury! These new characters were especially engaging, and since nearly everyone was married off at the close of Emma, it was wonderful to meet a new group of young people!
  • More Correspondents: Is it wrong to say that thoroughly enjoyed seeing the correspondence between Mrs. Elton and her sister Mrs. Suckling? LOL! I love how obnoxious and exasperating they were! I thought their inclusion and story-line was very cleverly done.
  • Cunning Inclusions of Jane Austen Phrases: Once again it was a lot of fun to spot the Austenesque turns-of-phrase – they all were very subtle and smartly placed. I also thought it was no small coincidence that a character named Louisa experienced a horrible, near-fatal accident. 😉


  • Sometimes Stagnant: I’m afraid Mrs. Pinkney’s side of the correspondence sometimes fell flat. She was involved with assisting and hosting Charlotte’s naval father, who is trying to claim the right to his pension from the Navy, and fretting about Mr. Pinkney’s niece, Sophie, from Barbados, who is most unhappy to be attending an all girls seminary in London. With both these story-lines there was a lot of inaction, waiting, and maintaining the status quo.
  • Too Many Story-lines: With so many story-lines, I sometimes felt it was challenging for the author to give proper attention to them all. I loved the new characters in Highbury and would have loved to seen more of them, (especially the parts where romances began to develop.) But with the culmination of events involving Sophie, Captain Gordon, and Miss Bates, they received little page time.


Dreaming of Highbury? Appreciate the elegant art of letter-writing? Admire Jane Austen? Then this lovely duo of books by Joan Austen-Leigh is not to be missed! I’m greatly impressed how Ms. Austen-Leigh took an obscure and oft-forgotten character and made her the center of this splendid retelling and sequel. I’m definitely an ardent fan of these charming and delightful stories published so long ago. In closing, I shall bid you all happy reading!

Yours in friendship and books,

Meredith 🙂



By way of Suzan, a lovely long-time friend and reader of this blog, I am in now possession of a second copy of Later Days of Highbury.  Since I already own my own hard cover copy of this lovely book, I thought I would present Suzan’s copy as a giveaway!  As you see below, I have a former library copy of Later Days at Highbury that is looking for a new home!

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If you are interested in winning this book for yourself, just leave a comment below!

  • This giveaway is open to residents worldwide!
  • This giveaway will end June 8th!

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  47 Responses to “Later Days at Highbury – Joan Austen-Leigh + GIVEAWAY!!!”


    Another rediscovered gem! I love how these are popping up. Thanks for the chance to win, but also just for highlighting these so that we can know about them!


    thank you for the chance to win – I am missing going to bookshops to look for old books – spent some good days in Hay on Wye visiting all the bookshops


    Okay, now I really need these two books!! Going to have to put them on my “must have” list. Thanks for the review (as always)!


    On my list to read for the summer! I just love to loath Mrs. Elton…


    Great review, it sounds amazing, thanks for the chance to win this! 🙂


    Added to my Want to Read list. I just love books! Who needs Calgon. Books take me away…


    Interesting. This is an approach I don’t read often – epistolary. In fact, I am having a difficult time remembering any…can it be? I will add this to my Wish List, which I can’t seem to make any shorter, despite my love of reading. Thank you for the review.


      Not many Austenesque authors have. I’ve read Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay, Dear Jane Austen by Patrice Hannon, and Dear Mr. Darcy by Amanda Grange – I loved all of them! I think I’m a real big fan of epistolary novels! 🙂


        Yes, I did read Dear Mr. Knightley…a while back and remember how well I liked it. Thanks for the reminder.


    Fascinating. Thanks for the great review, wonderful feature and lovely giveaway.


    I’ve been trying to avoid adding more books to my TBR list, but I’d feel worse if I didn’t sneak these two on! Thanks for the chance to win!


    Mrs Elton was very peculiar, I kind of like her, so I can imagine her sister!
    Thank you for doing the giveaway!


    Sounds so fun! I really want to read these books! Thanks very much for introducing me to them through your great reviews & also thanks for the giveaway chance!


    Sounds like a lot of fun! Letters betweem Mrs. Elton and Mrs. Suckling? Sound horribly fascinating.


    I thought the first one sounded adorable, but this is so cool that there is a second one too. The Elton/Suckling letters have me dying of curiosity.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.


    I didn’t know about this one! I read A Visit to Highbury many years ago and loved it….would love to read this too!


    I would love to read this book, please!!
    thank you for the giveaway……


    I would love to read this book. I read the first one!
    Thanks for the chance!


    Thanks for opening this giveaway internationally. I’d love to win it!


    Oooo, and the continuation! I’m beginning to think that the book stores you’re visiting may have a little more to offer than the ones I’ve been going to. Or I’m not visiting often enough. Thanks for the great giveaways!


      LOL! I have some lovely bookstores to visit here where I live, but I’m afraid majority of my rare finds come from amazon. 🙂 Even though they are out of print, I purchase from third-party sellers.


    This book looks great and I would love to win.


    I would love to read this book! Thanks!


    Thanks for the great review, Meredith! So glad you read that, I think I voted for it. Thanks for the giveaway too, what a prize!!!


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Emma sequel, Meredith. I always love reading your reviews when I’m free.


    Terrific review, Meredith. I love to read letters. Apparently, I love to read other people’s letters too. This sounds just lovely.


    Such an interesting author! And the covers are so lovely! They look like the covers of an old book! 🙂


    This pair of books sounds lovely. I actually found them on Amazon! I have acquired them and am looking forward to reading them.


    Sounds great, but sometimes too many story lines are hard to track. Would still love to read it!


    I would treasure it always. I enter all the giveaways I can find for books. I love to read, and I take special care of all my books. If they are signed, that makes them more than special.

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