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[Review] The Austen Girls by Lucy Worsley

The Austen Girls: What might the future hold? Roses, pearls and a quill and ink pot can be seen around the book title

Would she ever find a real-life husband? Would she even find a partner to dance with at tonight's ball? She just didn't know.

Anna Austen has always been told she must marry rich. Her future depends upon it. While her dear cousin Fanny has a little more choice, she too is under pressure to find a suitor.

But how can either girl know what she wants? Is finding love even an option? The only person who seems to have answers is their Aunt Jane. She has never married. In fact, she's perfectly happy, so surely being single can't be such a bad thing?

The time will come for each of the Austen girls to become the heroines of their own stories. Will they follow in Jane's footsteps?

The Austen Girls is a wonderful historical fiction proving to young girls everywhere that you can be the heroine of your own story and that you do not need a man to define you.

Set in the world of Jane Austen, Worsley wonderfully explores the lives of two of Jane’s nieces Fanny and Anna, and their quest to find husbands in the height of the Regency era where women were expected to be married off when they came of age.

Fanny and Anna are beautifully reimagined and are such fun protagonists for this story. It was really interesting to see their relationships with both each other and their families develop through the various twists and turns in the plot. Auntie Jane as well is a stand out character, not only because of who she really is but because of everything she embodies and promotes to the girls, such as her advocacy for independence and that there is more to life for the two of them than finding a husband.

Alongside this theme Worsley actively acknowledges the struggle for women in this time period, alongside many other historical truths which is really important to teach young people today.

Worsley weaves the factual and fictional elements of this story to craft a new imaginative tale that will surely bring a smile to your face. The Austen Girls is such an immersive story and I loved being transported back in time with Fanny and Anna. I only wish I didn’t have to leave this world when the story ended!

This review is by Rose Gant.