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By Jill Pitkeathley

They have been liked sisters and the easiest of acquaintances. yet Jane and Cassandra Austen suffered an identical destiny as a number of the ladies in their period. pressured to spend their lives depending on kin, either financially and emotionally, the sisters spent their time jointly buying and selling secrets and techniques, difficult every one other's evaluations, and rehearsing in myriad alternative ways the household dramas that Jane could later deliver to fruition in her well known novels. for every sister suffered via painful romantic disappointments—tasting ardour, figuring out nice love, after which wasting it—while the opposite stood witness. Upon Jane's loss of life, Cassandra intentionally destroyed her own letters, thereby final the door to the personal lifetime of the well known novelist . . . until eventually now.

In Cassandra & Jane, writer Jill Pitkeathley ingeniously reimagines the original and intimate dating among amazing siblings, reintroducing readers to at least one of the main interesting figures on this planet of literature, as visible during the eyes of the only one that knew her best.

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If it was a hard winter, it was particularly unhappy for we girls, because if the lanes were dirty we could not venture out and the dark days were long without some amusement. ” But indoors in the barn, rehearsing, reading and performing was joyful indeed. We had a most appreciative audience in my parents and later from two families who moved into the neighbourhood—the Lloyds and the Biggs. Martha and Mary Lloyd and their widowed mother rented the parsonage at Deane. We already knew the Lloyds slightly, because they were cousins of the two Fowle boys who had been at school at Steventon for some years and had remained friends with James and Henry.

18 jill pitk e athle y and satins and unusual smells; a world where we heard of operas and assemblies and theatricals. They settled easily into our home though and did not seem to miss the greater luxury they must have been used to. I, like Jane, loved to receive their letters, but when they were actually with us all my jealousies were inclined to return. They came often to stay at Christmas after that and we followed the pattern of that first one. There was ample room for them, because the boys had departed for the holidays.

She also said that they were all thinking of me making my wedding clothes. hj cassandr a & jane 51 I d id pa ss my time very profitably thus but, while Jane was away, I also found myself worrying, especially at night when I was alone in our room. I wondered how well I really knew Tom, how we would go on when we were together all the time, how competent I would be at managing a household and tending to a parish. My mother was a great example for me and I discussed some of my concerns with her. One day, when we were talking of my future life in Shropshire, I mentioned that I looked forward to giving Tom children.

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