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Behind Jane Austen's Door by [Forest, Jennifer]
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Behind Jane Austen's Door Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It is always a treat to read a book about Jane Austen that is written by someone who thoroughly knows the subject. This book shows a close knowledge of not only the novels but the letters, and as a digital edition, is certainly very convenient." Julia Emert

Product Details

  • File Size: 754 KB
  • Print Length: 54 pages
  • Publication Date: January 16, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006YITPAS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #683,722 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Some books are so useful they are hard to pass up. Several months ago, I received the Kindle edition of "Behind Jane Austen's Door" by Jennifer Forest, author of the delightful "Jane Austen's Sewing Box." "Behind Jane Austen's Door" takes you on a tour of a Regency house, room by room - the entrance hall, drawing room, dining room, breakfast room, dressing room, bedroom, and kitchen - to
explore the challenges and lives of Jane Austen's women. Included is an appendix that provides a quick overview of the Regency era.

More accessible in tone and organization than the excellent "Behind Closed Doors" by Amanda Vickery and "If Walls Could Talk" by Lucy Worsley, which cover similar but more comprehensive territory, this book can be used as a quick reference by people who want immediate access to the purposes and functions of the rooms in a Georgian household. What distinguishes this book is its close association to Jane Austen and her novels (much like Jennifer Kloestler's book, "Georgette Heyer's Regency World", associates it with that author).

One gains close glimpses of a rich family as well as one of more modest means, such as the household that Jane Austen's mother oversaw, and while much of the territory that Jennifer covered seemed familiar, it is arranged in such a pleasant and easy to use format that new authors to the Jane Austen genre or Regency romance will find it very useful, especially Jane Austen fans. "My mother made her entree into the dressing-room through crowds of admiring spectators yesterday afternoon, and we all drank tea together for the first time in five weeks ... We live entirely in the dressing-room now, which I like very much; I always feel so much more elegant in it than in the parlour.
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Format: Kindle Edition
There is a lovely idea "behind the door" of this short book. How did the women of the gentry in Regency England actually live in their homes? What did they do when they weren't shopping or visiting? The author has a wonderful beginning and an outline, but unfortunately that is what it remains, an outline. First of all, with more information and discussion, this would have been a highly interesting and entertaining book. It's too short and skimpy on details. For instance: where did the ladies shop for their furnishings? how did they learn to dance, to paint, to sew? what were their favorite recipes and foods when they entertained? what other homemaking skills were necessary? how did they actually supervise the staff? Secondly, the author could have compared the differences between members of the gentry who were not so wealthy with the weathier ones. Bringing in the aristocrats would probably have been too much, but it would have been interesting to read more about the differences in the homes within the gentry. A third observation is that the floor plan of the house reflects the life style of a poorer member of the gentry. Where is the library or office for the gentleman of the house? Even Mr. Bennett had his own library. As it is, this is a pleasant beginning and I hope that the author will be able to write another lengthier and more detailed book on the subject in the future. And please go easy on the exclamation marks.
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Format: Kindle Edition
If I could ask for just one Regency reference, I would want a solid explanation of home life. I can gain a reasonable understanding of Society by reading history books, but none of the volumes on the Prince Regent or Waterloo tell me anything about what a normal family did on a normal day. Since Jane's books are all about "three or four families in a country village," it seems understanding that life is essential to understanding and writing about Jane.

You can imagine then how excited I was when Jennifer Forest contacted us and asked if we would like to review her book, Behind Jane Austen's Door. The book description on Amazon promised exactly what I was looking for: "Behind Jane Austen's Door takes you on a tour of a Regency house, room by room, to explore the delicate challenges and the beautiful lives of Jane Austen's women." The only question remaining was would it deliver?

It did. Forest walks the reader through a standard Regency house, showing us the room, where it was positioned on the floor plan, and what it was used for. I found answers to many questions I searched for in writing His Good Opinion, such as the placement and purpose of the breakfast room.

Equally delightful for the Austen fan, she intersperses her explanations with quotes from Jane Austen's work. Through this, we gain not only an understanding of home life in the Regency period, but insight into what hidden little Austen quotes might mean.

Forest's writing style made this a quick and easy read. Her manner was light, rather than studious. I felt as if a friend were explaining things to me, which is always a more pleasant way to learn than by reading dull, dusty tomes.

The one thing lacking is a solid bibliography.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Skip this thing, even if you are a Jane Austen Maxi-Groupie!! I was so disappointed I wanted to cry for wasting 20 minutes of my life trying to figure out this book.

First of all, it tells us that we will look "behind the doors" of a middle-class Regency home such as the one Jane Austen lived in. To that end, the author gives us a floor plan of the main floor public areas and the upper floor sleeping rooms. Fine and dandy. Then she tells us what each room on the main floor is for and what activities take place in these rooms. Even though the writing is 5th grade-level I'm still interested. In between she quotes passages from various Austen books that (in her mind) relate to the room she is talking about. AND THEN, I get to the end of a page where she is describing the kitchen and that page is repeated over and over and over and over again for at least 80 pages!!! I manage to page through the repeats and finally that chapter ends. AND THEN, it's the end of the book!!! The author never gets to the upper floors to tell us about the sleeping/nursery arrangements, which was the floor I was most interested in to begin with. It just ends with a "thank you for reading my book" from the author. Crazy time.

Now, I am well aware that some of these free Kindle books have problems with paging, continuity, etc. and maybe in the future this one will be cleaned up but, until then, stay away from this book. Even though it was free when I got it, it wasn't worth the aggravation. I am not a happy camper right now.
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