Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour for
Godmersham Park by Gill Hornby.
A richly imagined novel inspired by the true story of Anne Sharp, a
governess who became very close with Jane Austen and her family by the #1International bestselling-author of Miss Austen.
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On January 21, 1804, Anne Sharpe arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent to take up the position of governess. At thirty-one years old, she has no previous experience of either teaching or fine country houses. Her mother has died, and she has nowhere else to go.
Anne is left with no choice. For her new charge—twelve-year-old Fanny
Austen—Anne’s arrival is all novelty and excitement. The governess role is a uniquely awkward one. Anne is neither one of the servants, nor one of the family, and to balance a position between the “upstairs” an “downstairs” members of the household is a diplomatic chess game. One wrong move may result in instant dismissal. Anne knows that she must never let down her guard.
When Mr. Edward Austen’s family comes to stay, Anne forms an immediate attachment to Jane. They write plays together and enjoy long discussions. However, in the process, Anne reveals herself as not merely pretty, charming, and competent; she is clever too. Even her sleepy, complacent, mistress can hardly fail to notice.
Meanwhile Jane’s brother, Henry, begins to take an unusually strong interest in the lovely young governess. And from now on, Anne’s days at Godmersham Park are numbered.
“This is a deeply imagined and deeply moving novel. Reading it made me happy and weepy in equally copious amounts…I read it straight through without looking up.”— Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Bookclub
Hornby’s skillful mix of fact and fiction captures the complexities of the Austens and their era, and her crisp, nimble prose sparkles throughout. Best of all, Hornby genuinely channels the sentiment of 19th-century English literature. Janeites aren’t the only readers who will relish this smart, tender
tale.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review
“…a well-written and delightfully observant novel…an excellent read.”— The
Historical Novel Society
Thank you @Pegasus_Books @AustenProse #AustenProsePR for my gorgeous print copy of #GodmershamPark upon my request. All opinions are my own.
Godmersham Park: A Novel of the Austen Family by Gill Hornby
Through Gill Hornby literary imagination we are granted a gracious storyline centered on Miss Anne Sharp. In January of 1804, in the county side of Kent, a lesser known character Miss Sharp spent two years at Godmersham park as a governess to young Fanny.
Fanny Austen, was the daughter of Edward Austen who is brother to Jane Austen. Gill Hornby writes vividly, creating a somewhat melancholy story from Fanny’s Austen’s diaries.
Numb from the loss of her mother, thirty-one year old Anne Sharpe is unable to comprehend what was her father’s motive for casting her out of her home with only enough money to survive. Anne’s predicament meant that she would either be forced to marry her family’s man of business or gain some sort employment.
Anne finds it hard to adjust to her life, her position is neither part of the servants or that of the family. Anne finds her young charge charming and delightful, they have an instant connection.
When Henry Austen and his sister Jane, arrive at Godmersham Park Anne feels the rippling effect. Hornby does a fabulous job displaying the Irony and clever wit, that is the equation for Austen styled literature.
Gill Hornby is the author of the novels Miss Austen, The Hive, and All Together Now,
as well as The Story of Jane Austen, a biography of Austen for young readers. She lives
in Kintbury, England, with her husband and their four children.