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    A delight for Austen fans

    No, not the "Miss Austen" you're thinking of. It is 1840, and Cassandra Austen, elderly spinster sister of the better-known Jane, calls on her recently-bereaved niece in Kintbury. Ostensibly to assist in packing up the family's belongings to move after the death of her brother in law, Cassandra is in reality there only to rummage through past correspondences in order to preserve Jane Austen's legacy and image. The letters trigger memories of Cassandra's own epic story of love and loss, and the reader is transported back to the early 1800's to a story as charming as one of Jane's own works. Cassandra is betrothed, bereaved, beholden to the memory of her one great love and vows to remain single and devote herself instead to her family. Interwoven with Cassandra's history is the "present-day" (1840) story of her niece Isabella, and the grand question of "What is to be Done with a Single Woman (of a certain age)?" While it started slowly, this was a delight to read. Exceptionally well-researched, it details the challenges faced by single women in the 19th century in various situations: familial comfort; surviving on their own; and their worth as determined by their usefulness to their families. It was a thought provoking read. Gently written in a style reminiscent of Jane Austen's own, this book will appeal to Austen fans. **I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

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