Jane Austen wrote about the English gentry class in the late Georgian and Regency periods (1796-1816). Her novels follow her heroines' quests for true love and fulfilment in English society during a period of great upheaval. But how accurate were Jane Austen's depictions of life in England? Was marriage really the only ambition for women at that time? Were all men as dominant and powerful as Sir Thomas Bertram in Mansfield Park? Was London really as corrupt and immoral a place as that book suggested? What was it like to live in a society governed by strict codes of etiquette and conduct?
Helen Amy draws on Austen's life and works, traces her travels around the country and features places of significance to her whilst also examining English society's apparent obsessions with fashion, entertainments, courtship and manners. Jane Austen's England features chapters on London, Bath, Cheltenham, Winchester, Steventon, Chawton, Portsmouth, Southampton, Lyme Regis, Brighton and Worthing together with the grand country houses, such as Godmersham House, The Vyne and Stoneleigh Abbey, which inspired Austen's fictional houses. Helen Amy opens a window onto this fascinating period of history, examining the places and culture of the times, with over 130 superb period illustrations and colour photographs.
After leaving university with a BA in English Literature and history Helen worked for a number of years in the Court Service before becoming a full time mother of three. Her interest in the life and works of Jane Austen developed from the research she did for her MA dissertation which was about the lives of women in late Georgian England.