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Guest Review: JANE AUSTEN: DADDY's GIRL by Zöe Wheddon


ABOUT THE BOOK

Jane Austen, Daddy’s Girl: The Life and Influence of the Revd George Austen is a poignant and pertinent examination of a relationship that became the cornerstone of Jane’s life, the bedrock of family and faith as she knew them.


Our epic journey through the life and times of the Reverend George Austen will lead us from his early childhood and humble beginnings as an orphan through his schooldays and on to Oxford University, and beyond. We will follow his career in the Church of England and as master of his own boarding school, as well as peek into his marriage and home life.


Dovetailed into this revealing biography is a thorough interpretation of fatherhood as a theme, as outlined in Jane’s novels, with scrutiny of the fathers of all her most beloved fictional families. Chapter by chapter we will understand more about Jane’s own view on fatherhood and how the Reverend Austen, as her father, colored and created that view. As we draw George and Jane’s relationship closer to us, we understand anew the many layers of clever meaning that Jane Austen interlaced within her stories.


Through an examination of this unique father-daughter bond, Jane Austen fans everywhere can pull up a footstool in George’s library and become further united in spirit with their beloved novelist.

 

OPENING LINES

“Outside, the streets are teaming with the wealthy, well-to-do and well known, fresh from their rambles through Cheapside and on the hunt for the perfect glove, a pair of spectacles, cape cloth and petticoats. Inside, weaving his way amongst the lined shelves, a young 8-year-old boy helps his uncle.”

 

GUEST REVIEW by Sophia Rose

When imagining the top Regency Era authors, most point to the witty and amusing novel-writing Jane Austen. As with her previous charming delve into Jane Austen’s friendship with Martha Lloyd, Zöe Wheddon explores the life of the man who played such a strong role in molding Jane Austen’s mind and talent.

 

Wheddon delves into the Austen family history, social history of the times, documents, letters, and family memorabilia to glean what was needed to flesh out the life of a man who was interesting in and of himself apart from his role as father to a now world-renowned author.  


George Austen’s humble and inauspicious beginnings offered an amazing contrast to the man who rose to scholarly heights at Oxford, established his family into the country gentry, and left a legacy through his children’s successes that proved the important role he played in their lives. It was evident early on that George Austen loved all his children and wanted them all, girls included, to have a solid education and encouraged them in their pursuits.

 

For me, the new and intriguing parts were George Austen’s background and his own early history and scholarly achievements before he became a family man. I also enjoyed the chapters that delved into his life after this as a family man and cleric. My only niggle was there was a repetition of thought a few times that didn’t seem necessary.


Wheddon included speculations about Jane Austen’s portrayal of fathers and clerics in her novels and how that connected to her intimate knowledge of her own father. I thought it was woven together with the biographical details rather well.  

 

All in all, I thought Wheddon did a good job inviting readers to a more warm and friendly knowledge of George Austen, his family, and Regency life focused on fathers. A light approach with an obvious scholarly research effort made Jane Austen, Daddy’s Girl: The Life and Influence of the RevdGeorge Austen an engaging biography I can recommend.

 

Non Fiction, Biography

Publisher:  Pen and Sword History

Published:  5.30.24


author Zoe Wheddon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A native of Janes Austen's beloved county of Hampshire, Zöe Wheddon lives in a village on the outskirts of the town that she and her husband Matt grew up in, with their cat Leia. When she is not reading, researching or writing she can be found in the classroom teaching Spanish and French or singing ABBA songs loudly in her kitchen.

 

She is an Ambassador of the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. You can connect with Wheddon via her website.




ABOUT GUEST REVIEWER Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet, curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, piano-playing, and gardening. Road trips and campouts, museums and monuments, restaurants, and theaters are her jam. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and a loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, baseball, cats, Scooby Doo, and chocolate.


As a lifelong reader, it was inevitable that Sophia would discover book blogs and the joy of blog reviewing. In 2012, she submitted her first book review and is currently an associate reviewer. Sophia is a prolific reader and audiobook listener which allows her to experience many wonderful books, authors, and narrators. Few genres are outside her reading tastes, but her true love is fiction, particularly history, mystery, sci-fi, and romance. Sorry, no horror...or she will run like Shaggy and Scooby.


Connect with Sophia via FACEBOOK GOODREADS TWITTER 

 

1 Comment


Christina Morland
Christina Morland
11 hours ago

Thanks for this review, Sophia! It is indeed fascinating to wonder how Austen's fictional fathers compare or relate to the relationship she had with her own father. It sounds as if she often wrote fathers who didn't quite match up to the father she had!

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