Jane Austen’s books are full of hidden mysteries for the modern reader. Why on earth would Elizabeth Bennet be expected to consider a suitor like foolish Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice? Would Lydia’s ‘infamous elopement’ truly have ruined her family and her other sisters’ chances to marry? Why were the Dashwood women thrown out of their home after Mr. Dashwood’s death in Sense and Sensibility, and what was the problem with secret engagements anyway? And then there are settlements, pin money, marriage articles and many other puzzles for today’s Austen lovers.
Customs have changed dramatically in the two centuries since Jane Austen wrote her novels. Beyond the differences in etiquette and speech, words that sound familiar to us are often misleading. References her original readers would have understood leave today’s readers scratching their heads and missing important implications.
Take a step into history with Maria Grace as she explores the customs, etiquette and legalities of courtship and marriage in Jane Austen’s world. Packed with information and rich with detail from Austen’s novels, Maria Grace casts a light on the sometimes bizarre rules of Regency courtship and unravels the hidden nuances in Jane Austen’s works.
Sometimes, no matter how much you know about a topic, it’s nice when someone puts it all together and gives it all some context.
This was the case with Courtship and Marriage. If you read as much about England in the early nineteenth century as I do, you’re not going to be surprised by much here, but this was definitely one of the better little books about life in the Regency era.
Additionally, the facts are explained in relation to the characters of Jane Austen’s books; Austen critics (of the ‘Why doesn’t Elizabeth Bennet do blah, blah, blah instead of just sitting there?!’ ilk) could benefit from the historical context author Maria Grace gives the characters’ actions.
I found this book via a link to a blog post on Twitter, so now I have found both a good historical blog and an author to follow in the future.