My last several posts have provided background on what little is known about Jane Austen’s relationships with men. In short, several promising relationships ended prematurely and, according to tradition, she lived a quiet life as a spinster, composing or extensively revising her novels at the family cottage in the village of Chawton, Hampshire.
But as I’ve shown in my blogs about her boyfriend and other suitors and about her marriage proposal and rejection, the information about her romances is neither conclusive nor consistent. In particular, her otherwise well-documented life has a gap of seven years from her mid-twenties until she moved to Chawton, largely because her sister Cassandra destroyed almost all the letters and any of Jane’s journals from that period.
These missing years led me to write the trilogy “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen,” in which I use the iconic author to explore what life was like for women in the Regency period. Volume I is a charming courtship novel; Volume II is a deep psychological look at marriage from the wife’s perspective; Volume III is the conclusion that tests Jane’s courage and moral convictions. I’m pleased to announce that the last volume is available for pre-order now on Amazon.
The series resolves the mystery of Austen’s life before she devoted herself fulltime to her writing: Why the enduring rumors of a lost love or tragic affair? Why, afterward, did the vivacious Jane prematurely put on the “garb of middle age” and retire to write her books? Why, upon her death, did her beloved sister destroy almost all evidence of her life in that period?
I hope you will take a look at how life might have been for Jane Austen–and how she might have written about the deepest matters of the heart if female authors had been able to do that in her lifetime.