- I met Jane Austen in a new way while reading this book. So often, we only read about Austen through somebody else's eyes. Here, we can see Jane Austen herself, without any other author's interpretations or editing. It's so refreshing!
- The illustrations! They are truly one of the highlights of the book. I found that I am still a sucker for pretty pictures in books. The illustrations are varied, from portraits that Cassandra, a budding artist drew, to little humorous sketches published in newspapers at the time to beautiful watercolor sketches done by famous people.
- The social rules fascinate me. What accomplishments were expected of ladies, the proper way to accept a dance...the rules go on and on. It's interesting, because Jane Austen, of course, accepts the rules as just the way things are. So the reader picks up those social rules along the way through reading Austen's writing.
- I am glad I don't have to wear regency dress. I look at those pictures and hear Jane mention certain things about their clothes and I breathe a sigh of relief. I am a dress-uppy kind of girl, but those teeny-tiny little plunging bodices and skirts that appear to be constantly sticking to ones legs does not sound pleasant.
- For the first time, I got a very clear picture of the Austen family as a whole. I have read biographies about Austen before, but this one is so interesting because it is Jane, herself, talking about her family and all of the little quirks that make up everybody.
- Jane Austen was an observer, rather like me. She writes to Cassandra all of her observations about people and the funny, strange, and interesting things that they do. I think it's part of what makes her such a brilliant writer...that ability to observe something interesting, stow it away for future use, and then pull it out again and incorporate it into a novel.
This book was so wonderful, readers. I think it was my favorite of my Austen in August reads. I highly recommend it to any Austenites.