By Margaret C. Sullivan, Quirk Books, $16.95, 224 pages
The Jane Austen Handbook; Proper Life Skills from Regency England written by Margaret C. Sullivan is designed to lead Jane Austen fans to a greater understanding of the life and times of Regency England. Chapters are divided into such subjects as; How to Become An Accomplished Lady, Identify the Quality, Indicate Interest In A Gentleman Without Seeming Forward, How to Behave At A Dinner Party, How to Play At Cards, How to Attend A Ball, and more, with subcategories included. All were important considerations of the time. Towards the end is a short biography of Jane Austen followed by a synopsis of many of her major novels and then a comprehensive glossary of the common terms in her era. This is a crash course in Regency England’s middle class.
Appropriate drawings illuminate the text and add understanding to the whole. How to Write a Letter, for instance, instructs a writer to write left to right, then down each side margin of the sheet and finally, to write sideways across the top of the original text. This is to save mailing costs which the recipient, rather than the writer, must pay. It is rude to cause your recipient to pay for more than one sheet. What a boon to any Jane Austen fan! It is great fun to read.
Reviewed by Rosalie West