Miss Austen – the new novel from Gill Hornby – delves into why Cassandra burned a treasure trove of letters written by her sister, Jane Austen – an act of destruction that has troubled academics for centuries. 1840: twenty three years after the death of her famous sister Jane, Cassandra Austen returns to the village of Kintbury, and the home of her family’s friends, the Fowles.
She knows that, in some dusty corner of the sprawling vicarage, there is a cache of family letters which hold secrets she is desperate should not be revealed. As Cassandra recalls her youth and her relationship with her brilliant yet complex sister, she pieces together buried truths about Jane’s history, and her own. And she faces a stark choice: should she act to protect Jane’s reputation? Or leave the contents of the letters to go unguarded into posterity …
Based on a literary mystery that has long puzzled biographers and academics, Miss Austen is a wonderfully original and emotionally complex novel about the loves and lives of Cassandra and Jane Austen.
Gill Hornby, who lives in Kintbury, will be talking to Helena Kelly (author of Jane Austen the Secret Radical) in Hungerford Town Hall. Pre-order the book (for £10) along with your ticket (£8) and receive a free copy of My Beautifull Cassandra by Jane Austen. Bring along your book to the event to get it signed. Your ticket includes a glass of wine on the evening.