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A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England (Paperback)

P&S History > British History > Georgian History P&S History > Literary Figures P&S History > Social History World History > UK & Ireland > England

By Sue Wilkes
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 184
Illustrations: 32 black and white
ISBN: 9781781592649
Published: 22nd October 2014
Last Released: 25th June 2021




Author Sue Wilkes guest blogs for Austen Authors. Read it here!

Author article as featured on the JA Literary Fund online magazine - issue 18

Listen to Sue Wilkes on RedShift Radio - Scarlet Ladies (19/1/18)

Author blog post featured in Shepherd.com 'The best history books for understanding Jane Austen’s England'

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Immerse yourself in the vanished world inhabited by Austen's contemporaries. Packed with detail, and anecdotes, this is an intimate exploration of how the middle and upper classes lived from 1775, the year of Austen's birth, to the coronation of George IV in 1820. Sue Wilkes skilfully conjures up all aspects of daily life within the period, drawing on contemporary diaries, illustrations, letters, novels, travel literature and archives.

• Were all unmarried affluent men really 'in want of a wife?'
• Where would a young lady seek adventures?
• Would 'taking the waters' at Bath and other spas kill or cure you?
• Was Lizzy Bennet bitten by bed-bugs while travelling?
• What would you wear to a country ball, or a dance at Almack's?
• Would Mr Darcy have worn a corset?
• What hidden horrors lurked in elegant Regency houses?

A marvelous read, full of answers to questions many of us have asked when reading the divine Miss Austen's books. The minutiae of everyday Georgian life is laid bare for the curious reader, and it is most enjoyable.

NetGalley, Elizabeth Grieve

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England by Sue Wilkes was a fantastic nonfiction read for lovers of Jane Austen. I liked that I could picture myself walking around England at the time, and I could vividly picture what Wilkes was describing. I felt like I could be walking down a street and see Jane Austen strolling towards me.

I think this book had to be great fun to research. I loved the use of various magazines and articles from the time. I felt the vast number of topics was also nice. It just felt more genuine and less rigid in terms of nonfiction. I learned so much about the time, even though I have read other books on the topic. I think how Wilkes chose to write the story was engaging, interesting, and well thought out.

The only thing I would have liked more were picture of some of the items. While I knew a lot of them, if I was newer to this topic in history, I would not have been able to picture this book as well as I did.

If anyone is looking for a book about Jane Austen’s England, I would very much recommend this book. I will be buying a physical copy for my collection. It is a book I will read again in the future.

NetGalley, Sara Hill

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely loved! Highly recommend for those other Jane Austen lovers like myself.

NetGalley, Heather Michael

As with previous works in this genre of history books, I really enjoyed this. It’s such a fun way to learn social history without feeling like you’re slogging through a textbook. I recommend it for anyone with an interest in Jane Austen or the time period.

NetGalley, Morris Morgan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Big Austen fan. I loved this book. So fun to read and learn more about the time. Recommend 1000%!

NetGalley, Jackie Wright

Reading this concurrently with Pride and Prejudice made for a lovely experience. Informative and friendly, a book to browse casually or read cover to cover.

NetGalley, Chelsey F

This cute quirky guide is adorable. I learned a lot and also laughed while reading.

NetGalley, Brynn Gibson

Wow! This book is incredible! It is so entertaining, and, as a lover of Jane Austen's works, I was immersed from the first page to the last! If you love history, the Regency Era, Georgian Era, and / or anything related to Jane Austen, I highly recommend this book!

Read the full review via Instagram

Instagram, @littlebutfiercebookdiary

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I've not long been a Jane Austen fan, but having become one, I had to take a peek at this book! It was just enough information to keep me entertained with boring me today from too many details. Good read for fans of Jane Austen!

NetGalley, Catherine Hankins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wow! This book is incredible! It is so entertaining, and, as a lover of Jane Austen's works, I was immersed from the first page to the last! Whenever I picked up "A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England", I was whisked back in time to Regency Era England, and felt like I learned so much while reading this fun book!

This is the first book I have read by Sue Wilkes, and I can't wait to read more, as she truly brings history to life in such an amazing way! I can only imagine the amount of research Ms. Wilkes must have done, as each and every aspect of this book is incredibly creative, intriguing, and engaging. She is truly knowledgable about the eras she is writing about, and, as the reader, you feel the amount of respect and love she has for the subject matter.

I truly feel like I stepped back in time while reading this book. Focusing on the "middle and upper classes" of Jane Austen's England, I can't wait to re-read Ms. Austen's books again, and truly appreciate them that much more (if that is possible!).

If you love history, the Regency Era, Georgian Era, and / or anything related to Jane Austen, I highly recommend this book! I truly felt like I went back in time without ever leaving my couch, and I can't wait to now go and do more research on this era on my own!

NetGalley, Ashley Maimes

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It has an easy-to-read tone and doesn't dwell for too long on any one topic. I think that Austen's novels work well as a frame work for these types of books- you can quote Austen and historical sources for more emphasis.

NetGalley, Jessica Storoschuk

I am a big fan of Jane Austen and England, so this is a perfect fit for me! I think the strength of this book is in its offerings in looking at the different time periods. I think this fits well with the current popularity of period dramas, and the reemergence of interest in the regency era. It's also great for those who would be interested in planning an educational trip, but more so about adding context to the exploration.

NetGalley, A Home Library

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My favourite kind of history book is the kind that gives you a strong idea of what it really felt like to live in a different time. A Visitor’s Guide to Victorian England gives you lots of fascinating detail about daily life, evocative descriptions, and toe-curling facts. It’s full of quotes from primary sources. You’ll understand what it was like to really walk the streets, what food and clothing was like, and even some cues for social etiquette. It’s very readable, and especially good for readers new to the subject.

NetGalley, Cam M

I appreciated the creative approach the writer took to educating the reader about the time Jane Austen lived, instead of a dry history text the reader is led on a tour of the various places and experiences Jane Austen and her characters would have encountered The book covers a huge variety from the mundane to the more exciting, such as highway men. The details are very impressive and show a great deal of research, for example the price of lodgings for a gentleman in London, or a clear and concise explanation of the currency at the time. References are made not just to characters and the works of Austen, but to friends and family of the author herself, however the use of various contemporary sources from diaries, writings, letter or news stories provide some real gems such as as a Exeter Mail Coach that encountered an escaped lioness.
I can only imagine the time it took to research and then write this book and I feel lovers of Jane Austen, history and writers seeking to do their own research would enjoy this book and find it enriching.

NetGalley, Lorna Vianna

This book covers everything from style, etiquette, living arrangements, and even the best way to find a husband.
It transports you to the Jane Austen era, and you truly feel like you can walk among the people og Georgian England.
For an informative book it's fast-paced and not boring at all. It's a quick read that you can finish in one sitting. The author's research is thorough, and you can see that from the start (and from the extensive quotes you can find.)

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a Jane Austen fan, a Brigerton fan, or simply a fan of the era.

NetGalley, Marti Feliciani

"A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England" is exactly what the title suggests, it's written in the form of a travel guide to help you navigate through that specific time and place. It talks about modes of transportation, currency, and, of course, every stage from looking for to marrying the right partner. I really appreciated that many first person accounts are quoted in this guide. Yay for primary sources! This book would be a great resource for writers who are interested in writing about Regency England and Janeites who want a more detailed look at the world their fandom is set in.

NetGalley, Christina Orlandos

An entertaining introduction to every day life of the middle and upper classes in Regency England. For readers of Jane Austen's books and aspiring writers of historical novels this is a good starting point.

NetGalley, Anja Kwiatkowski

This is a cute, easy, and informative foray into the world of Jane Austen. Wilkes writes as if for a time traveller - a guidebook for a quick visit to Georgian England. She covers all from lodging, to transportation; style, to comportment. She even gives tips on how to find a suitable Georgian spouse.

This "visitor's guide" is clearly well-researched, and Wilkes often quotes other guidebooks from the era, as well as Austen's own letters and other historical accounts. I found that I learned quite a bit of entertaining new information; for example, it was considered "effeminate" for men to bathe too often (one can only hope Mr. Darcy didn't listen to such nonsense).

Coming on the heels of the Bridgerton-mania currently sweeping the Netflix-watching world, I could see Wilkes's guide becoming quite popular. It presents important, historical information in a readable, engaging framework.

NetGalley, Molly Trammell

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Guide, the story telling approach working adeptly to make this factual work universally accessible. The links with Austen were nicely made, without overpowering the factual nature of the work – at the same time, I began to feel that re-reading my favourite Austens (novels and biographies) was a must. The index was detailed and informative, and the bibliography, impressive. So, an academic reader can easily join with one who wants a popular reading of Jane Austen’s time in perfect harmony. Both will be thoroughly satisfied, I combine both aspects of the exacting reader and loved the book.

NetGalley, Robin Joyce

Any fans of Jane Austen or the recent television adaptation of Bridgerton will enjoy this quick sweep through everyday life in the Regency period, which covers the small practical details of life during this time, such as how to clean your teeth before toothpaste, the practicalities of having a bath, where to stay when travelling, things to do in London, and so on.. It doesn't delve much into politics or history but instead, as the title suggests, gives a guide to what you would expect to experience were you to be transported to Jane Austen's England. Historical information is linked to extracts from Austen's letters and novels, among other sources, and it's a fun and readable insight into life during this period in England.

NetGalley, Melanie Dolhun

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


If you are a lover of Jane Austen and/or Costume Dramas, you might find this book perfect company to help you pass a cold, snowy evening, sitting in your comfy chair, sipping a cup of tea.

>From clothing, transportation, sickness and health, marriage, and money, each topic takes you back 200 years and I could practically smell and hear and see all the goings on, as the author described them. It's not meant to be a stuffy, scholarly work, although certainly the amount of research that went into it can certainly be called "scholarly".

Instead, through snippets of daily life imagined (or from actual letters) , this book gives us a glimpse into times gone by, the reading of which sometimes leaves you longing "for simpler times" or grateful "for not having lived during that time"!.

A lovely read.

NetGalley, Marie Raymond

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As a die-hard Janeite I adore reading anything about Jane Austen and Sue Wilkes' book is a great addition to the Jane Austen book family.

NetGalley, Penelope Jenkins

Imagine that you are a visitor in Jane Austen's England. What kind of carriage would you have? What kind of fashions would you wear? Where will you stay, and how will you travel? What is your occupation?Sue Wilkes discusses all these details, and more in an evocative way so that you can really picture yourself as a character in the Regency period!

She includes extracts from diaries, and books and peppers her account with several intriguing anecdotes about Regency characters, such as Beau Brummell and the Prince of Wales. She also discusses the differences between the classes. This well-researched, interesting book will be enjoyed by any Jane Austen fan, and it is also useful for novelists and non-fiction writers.

NetGalley, Lisa Sanderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A must read for all Jane Austen and Bridgerton fans. Sue Wilkis takes the reader on a tour of England at the time of Emma, Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy and all the other wonderful characters we love, answering all sorts of questions that period drama lovers have always asked: What is a young lady's day like in England? How much does a carriage ride cost and which vehicle should you choose if you want to keep up appearances? How does one travel as a young nobel woman and what fabric should the next evening gown be made of?
Of course, the book deals not only with the lives of women, but also men and daily life in general.

I am thrilled with the book and can only recommend it to anyone who would like to delve deeper into that part of history. It is accompanied by quotes and anecdotes from Jane Austen and her characters, but also from real contemporary witnesses.

NetGalley, Raphaela Hußmann

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was a fun look into a brief period of history and a famous writer from that time that have captured the adoration of millions over the years!

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

As a history lover and geek I found this a fun and interesting read. It is a great guide if you write novels during this era and the facts are detailed and helpful. England during Austen's era is not all romance and garden parties, there are many other elements to this era. This book details the good stuff - and the not so good stuff of regency England.

NetGalley, Kayla Thomas

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Whether you're a fan of Jane Austen's books, their countless adaptations, or simply any book set in the Regency era, this is a fantastic read that is oddly difficult to put down.

Sue Wilkes gives us a friendly, grounded look at the "ins and outs" of life during Jane Austen's lifetime. To book covers everything from how to get to London, where to stay, what to wear, who to hire, what to do for fun (and what is "the thing" according to the fashionable crowd). If you've ever scratched your head about what a barouche or a post chaise are while reading a book set in this period, this is the solution to your problem.

I particularly appreciated that Wilkes used so many primary sources to illustrate the information about households, social mores, and little details that need to be lived. The book is peppered with extracts from contemporary publications, personal letters, memoirs, and details from Jane Austen's life. Did you know Austen had a cousin who was widowed when her husband was guillotined in France?

Overall, this was a must-read and I cannot wait to get a hard copy for my bookshelf. Anyone who reads this will gain a new appreciation for the Regency era and the stories it brings us (be they contemporary like Austen's novels or new like, say, the Bridgerton series?). Incidentally, it's also perfect for historical research! (Where else will you learn about Regency-era bathrooms?)

NetGalley, Patricia J

A very interesting book for readers enthusiastic about the Regency Era - or just about Jane Austen - who want to better understand every detail.

NetGalley, Gabriella Parisi

A great reference for Jane Austen and Regency fans alike. Researchers will be drawn to the accessibility of traveling through Regency England alongside the familiar name of Jane Austen while Regency romance lovers will find it a great companion piece. Readers will learn about travel, money, fashion, class, and transportation as the author acts as your tour guide.

The structure of the book doesn't follow the traditional "day in the life" narrative that similar books explore. Instead, Wilkes walks the reader through visiting England for the first time. The book pulls from newspaper articles and journals which further illustrates the points the author brings forward. I always enjoy recommending historical books that draw heavily upon primary sources.

This is an engaging, accessible read for those wanting an overview of Regency life. I can't wait to recommend this one!

NetGalley, Kelsea Whaley

This is a cute book that walks you through the time and location of Austen's books. I see this as a nice companion book to Austen books.

NetGalley, Elyssa DeAlmeida

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book talked about what daily life was like in England for the middle and upper classes during 1775-1820. The author included quotes from diaries, letters, and such from the time period, including quotes from Jane Austen's letters. She also looked at quotes from Jane Austen's books to help the reader better understand the nuances of what was going on. The information was interesting and provided insights into books written in the Regency period. Overall, I'd recommend this book to fans of Jane Austen's books and those interested in daily life during this time.

The author used a conversational tone, advising a visitor to England about what life will be like or what your options will be. She started by talking about travel, from the different ways to travel to what to expect at lodgings as well as hazards to watch out for, the costs, etc. She then talked about housing (including bathing, using the bathroom, the lighting and heating), what activities you might do (including shopping, gambling, letter writing, sports), what the meals will be like, details about the current fashions for both men and women, and what the different parts of clothing were like. She talked about how young men and women found their marriage partners and the advantages and disadvantages of a long engagement. She finished by talking about options in healthcare, childbirth, death and mourning, and things like quack cures and the sea cure.

NetGalley, Deborah White

The book is written in the pattern following other books 'A Visitor's Guide to ...", which I often read, and presents a very detailed description of the period in which Jane Austen lived and wrote. The Author focuses on every single subject that you can think of regarding the guide: place, people, clothes, food, manners etc etc. There are numerous quotes from books, letters and memoirs, and they give the feel of the times.
I would definitely recommend this book to the lovers of Jane Austen's works as they will get a clearer ideas of conventions and the lifestyles of her days.

NetGalley, Beata B. Reviewer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a delightful book!

Not just for the lovers of Jane Austen novels but for anyone interested in the wonderful social history that it presents. Covering all aspects of living during the time, it really brings to life many things that are not often thought about. I have found myself quoting it so often to others with a 'did you know that..' I am sure that it will be a best-seller and is a must-include for book clubs.

It is very pleasant and a joy to read as so many 'history' books can be quite dry. It is perfectly matched with a pot of tea and a slice of cake to enjoy!

NetGalley, Julie Littler

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England by Sue Wilkes is a thoroughly researched practical guide covering everything in England’s genteel life during Jane Austen’s time. From gentleman’s entertainment to clothes, waking habits, outhouses, being sick and how much things cost.

If you are a fan of that era, and especially Jane Austen, it will no doubt give you a lot of insights into a lot of things Austen talks about and put it in context. A lot of Austen’s life is actually used as example, some of her letters are cited, some of her books too, as well as circumstances in the life of her famous contemporaries. We learn about many odd little events at the time, it’s very anecdotal and easy to read. The chapters are short and entertaining.

For people who like me are writing stories/plays/video games set in that era it is really a wonderful guide full of information that can give life to your work (like for example which inn to stay at to get the best view, how people travel and what are the risks and what gentlemen’s club is the most sought after and what are there secret practices…. Yes, you can find all those answers in the pages of that book!).

I highly recommend the guide to all creatives and fans. A great collection, not too dense, not too restricted, that will give a good overview all in one place without having to exert any research efforts. Wonderful!

NetGalley, Opal Edgar

Wilkes unpacks topics, such as being at home, away, relaxing, shopping, romance, and medical advancements, and the simple yet complicated class structures of royalty, the cloth, artisans, dignitaries, and the very poor. It really puts you in the perspective of a newcomer literally entering the world and observing everything, wide-eyed.

NetGalley, Kristine Fisher

This was a splendid ride through the time period of Regency. The background and things you learn were things I had always wondered about.

NetGalley, Laney Estel

If you’ve ever wondered why fictional characters set in Regency England are doing what they do, or been curious as to what particular social tidbits mean, this book provides an informative peek into the world.

NetGalley, Susan Coventry

Such a great resource that is not a dry textbook! If you have any interest in or affinity to life in England when Jane Austen was writing, you do not want to miss this book. Careful research brings this period to life and answers many questions you may not have even realized you had! Each chapter covers various aspects, such as living day to day, travel, money, leisure, finding a partner and sickness and health, all from the perspective of middle or upper class. Highly insightful and helpful to better understanding books I love to read from this time period.

NetGalley, Brandi Rawlins

This was a joy of a read and made me want to go back to Austen's books and read them again. It's a fascinating period of English history and Wilkes explores it with interest, wit and a great attention to detail.

NetGalley, Tom Muir

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Cleverly written historical book on the Regency period, disguised as a modern travel guide.
Well researched. Excellent read. A Janeite must read.

NetGalley, Beth Shulam

This is a great book to use as a guide to understanding Austen's books (and others written in the same period). It uses examples from the books to highlight different societal norms in the regency era. It's also pretty quick and logically laid out for the reader. Overall, a great read that I'll want to revisit sometime.

NetGalley, Caidyn Young

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is an excellent history book, that doesn't really feel like a typical history book. If you have watched and loved Bridgerton on Netflix and wanted to know more about the society that it was set in, this is a must-read. Also, if you enjoy the books of Ian Mortimer - this book will be a joy to read. Absolutely loved it!

NetGalley, Sinead Noonan

I have always loved and read many historical romance novels over the years and enjoyed this book because it explained so many things I have read in those novels and may not have understood at the time.

The book starts with the hierarchy of the time period: King George III and the Prince of Wales. Much has been written about his huge size and the money he wasted on gambling, clothes, and horses. Aristocrats, nobles, and gentry follow. Jane Austen’s family was considered middle class. In addition, the war with France was ongoing during that time.

The book is written as if the reader is visiting England for the first time and is being introduced to the ways to travel; hotels and their amenities; restaurant food; and the need to always be on the lookout for highwaymen.

Next we learn about the London Season running early in the New Year and ending in early summer, then the little season in autumn.

There are many references to Jane Austen’s comments plus quotes from some of her books.

I think this is a perfect book especially for all authors of historical romance to have right by their computers while writing. So much valuable information. I really enjoyed it.

NetGalley, Connie Fischer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is such a charming book. I've always been drawn to England and this time period and found this book fascinating. It was such a fun way to learn about the etiquette expected of the upper and middle class societies. I loved that it is set up as more of a guide book rather than a stuffy text book. It had the same feel that the new Netflix show Bridgerton has as far as narration. I also enjoyed the drawings at the end and loved how the cover looks like something you'd see in that time period.

NetGalley, Crossroad Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is such an entertaining and educational book. I’ve always loved this period in history and was fascinated by this book. I love how it is presented as more of a guidebook rather than a boring history textbook. Sue Wilkes takes us on a fantastic journey back in time into the lives of the upper and middle class in England. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Jane Austen’s novels or that time in history.

NetGalley, Heather Russell

I love everything *history" and I love Jane Austen, so, easy to say, this was the perfect read for me!
This book is a real gem, entertaining and informative, full of interesting tidbits about Austen's life and her writings. Also a great insight into Regency England and what life was about in that era. And a very well written one, too!
Loved it from beginning to end!

NetGalley, Federica Angelè

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England is a book that presents the facts of Regency life in a fun and entertaining way. The tone of the 'narration' of the text feels like someone tell you a story, and while much of the information included was already known to me from past research and reading, Wilkes goes into detail in some sections on topics that are often only glossed over in other works. As such, I think this is a valuable work both for the Jane Austen fans and for writers looking to pen their own works set in this period.

NetGalley, Nicki Markus

I found it enjoyable and informative. A great way of incorporating history while also referencing the characters of the books. There are also some great historical sketches and drawings at the end.

NetGalley, Nicole Fouladi

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I love everything Jane Austen so I was quite eager to get my hands on this. I have to say it was such a fascinating read. I appreciate all of the details that Sue Wilkes included as well as the variety of sources she used. Her writing style was very engaging and easy to follow. I especially enjoyed that she incorporated passages from Jane Austen’s novels in order to further explain their significance during that period. Now that I am educated in what type of carriage to ride in, which playhouses to attend, and how to dance the quadrille, I’m looking forward to re-reading Austen’s novels to identify all of the regency references that I may have overlooked.

NetGalley, Kendra Carter

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Loved, loved, loved!
I think this type of history books are a great way to learn about everyday life in a specific time.
This one is highly entertaining, well researched and well written.
I had a lot of fun and learned a lot.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

This is a very interesting book. I learned a lot about life from Jane Austen's time period. Traveling, how they lived, heating and lighting etc. A great book for a fan of Jane Austen, England, or that time period.

NetGalley, Sheila Treacy

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a delightful book telling what it would be like to live during Jane Austen’s time. It helped me find greater understand to Jane’s work. I highly recommend this great guide!

NetGalley, Jessica Murdock

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

See Georgian England through the eyes of Jane Austen and those who lived in that era in this absolutely fascinating, riveting, humorous and fun book without having to deal with the inconveniences of living it! I have read all the books on this subject I can get my hands on and was thrilled with this one and was happy to increase my knowledge. Class structure and gender, of course, are amongst the most identifiable "features" of England at that time. Marrying well (not too high above or below your station) was crucial and so was keeping appearances, at all cost. But there is so, so much more. Glimpses such as this into real lives is exciting and revealing.

Learn details about modes of transportation, the sights which greet you from the outskirts of communities, a story of a lioness attack (!), frozen chamberpots and night soil removal procedures, different types of candles to burn, how NOT to light a fire in the fireplace, heavily taxed items to pay off war debt, "bosom-friend" definition, clothing and fashion, education, occupations, childbirth and so on. I like that the costs of many things are mentioned including home upkeep and salaries. You will read about etiquette, "coming out", marriage and how to fashion a toothbrush! One of my favourite topics is about dentistry and medicine.

A lot of the information was found in books written at the time, including those of Jane Austen, as well as other documentation. The author writes in an engaging friendly tone, very enjoyable.

Jane Austen fans and those who treasure information on the era will have hundreds of reasons to be smitten with this. The author is entertaining as well as informative, certainly not dry or a slog.

NetGalley, Brenda Carleton

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A immersive and wonderful guide to Jane Austen’s world! perfect for fans of Jane Austen. It has everything you need to learn about the interesting world! From letters, dinner guides, funny character notes, little facts and tidbits, it’s just an all around fun read!

NetGalley, Ashley Dang

Author article part of the Social History feature 'Hideous progeny' as featured in

Discover Your Ancestors, issue 7

As featured on.

Jane Austen Literacy Foundation

Guest blog as featured on Austen Authors.

Sue Wilkes for Austen Authors

This guide for visitors is an excellent guide for readers of Jane Austen's novels as well. The abundance of information about everyday living adds an extra dimension of familiarity to the conduct and relationships of the characters.

This book is a worthy contribution to the field of Austen social history and uses the mundane realities of life to illuminate the reader's experience.

Sensibilities June 2016

The book is illustrated with some wonderfully engaging illustrations from period journals, plus engravings of Jane Austen, her childhood home in Steventon, and Chawton church in Hampshire where her mother and sister are buried.

The book ends with a useful biography of Jane Austen and a timeline of her life, historical events, and literary works.

A Visitors Guide to Jane Austen's England is a delight. I don't think I've ever read a book that paints such a vivid picture of daily life in late 18th and early 19th century England. It makes a perfect companion for Austen's beloved novels; its the sort of book you can refer to for research or simply dive into at random to immerse yourself in the England that Austen knew.

Read the full review here!

The Heritage Traveller

Wilkes makes the world of Jane Austen come to life, and shows what it was like for the middle classes of England during the author's lifetime, from travel to fashion, shopping, leisure, and, of course, finding a mate.

The book is illustrated with some wonderfully engaging illustrations from period journals, plus engravings of Jane Austen, her childhood home in Steventon, and Chawton church in Hampshire where her mother and sister are buried.

The book ends with a useful biography of Jane Austen and a timeline of her life, historical events, and literary works.

A Visitors Guide to Jane Austen's England is a delight. I don't think I've ever read a book that paints such a vivid picture of daily life in late 18th and early 19th century England. It makes a perfect companion for Austen's beloved novels; its the sort of book you can refer to for research or simply dive into at random to immerse yourself in the England that Austen knew.

Read the fantastic full review at Britain Express

Britain Express

This is an ingenious volume. The author, who has written extensively on social history and on genealogy, provides us with a detailed guide book to the habits, facilities, sights and values of Southern England in the early 19th century. Her walk-through of the territory is attractively supported by extensive quotations from the works of Jane Austen herself and from other contemporaries. The author comments that ‘ Austen’s observations of society were exceptionally astute ( though she was not infallible).’

The whole gamut of middleclass society is covered from domestic details (candlelight and privies) through travel (phaetons, barouches and stagecoaches ) to fashionable life in London ( Beau Brummell and dandies ). Perhaps the most interesting section deals with the etiquette (and pressure) to find a suitable marital partner, but as the author observes, ‘ It’s a man’s world’. Or as Jane herself describes it; ‘ Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.’

The text is lively and well arranged and the anecdotes relevant and illuminating. There is a selection of contemporary engravings, an extensive bibliography and a useful summary of Jane’s life. This is a book which Janeites will enjoy and which will provide an informative context to the novels.

Federation of Family History Societies

The author skilfully conjures up all aspects of daily life within the period, drawing on contemporary diaries, illustrations, letters, novels, travel literature and archives.

Julian Stockwin, author of the Silk Tree

A delightful book where the author leads the reader through a long lost world that has been immortalized in the writing of Jane Austen.


An entertaining and fascinating book.

Your Family Tree

They'll find out how to dress for a country ball, or a dance at Almack's (a famous London Club). They'll also discover the hidden horrors inside those elegant Georgian houses, and the perils of travelling in Austen's day.

Writer's News

This is an ingenious volume. The author, who has written extensively on social history and on genealogy, provides us with a detailed guide book to the habits, facilities, sights and values of Southern England in the early 19th century. Her walk-through of the territory is attractively supported by extensive quotations from the works of Jane Austen herself and from contemporaries.
The text is lively and well arranged and the anecdotes relevant and illuminating. This is a book which Janites will enjoy and which will provide an informative context to the novels.

Federation of Family History Societies.

An entertaining read...charmingly illustrated with contemporary images.

Shields Gazette

Sue Wilkes provides an unusual perspective on the world of Austen's novels, uncovering the often unromantic truths behind the genteel façade. Offering a sensory review of this era in all its sights, sounds and smells, this title will appeal to both seasoned social history fans, costume drama lovers, history students and anyone with an interest in Jane Austen or the Regency period.

Antiques Diary

As seen in the South Wales Guardian.

South Wales Guardian

Sue Wilkes' engaging, conversational style, and choice of topics / anecdotes made me see the Regency world in a fresh way - one that reminded me of how strikingly similar the people and societal concerns of the1800s are to those in the 21st century. ... A perfect gift for every Janeite friend and family member.

Austen Prose website

Sue Wilkes plunges the reader straight into the delights and terrors of travelling around Georgian England in this well-researched and informative book. Her presentation is immediate and energetic.
Writing in the style of a practical guidebook, Wilkes simply takes you by the hand and walks you through Jane Austen's world. A thoroughly engaging - and very informative - 'eye-witness' guide to everything from medical matters to modes of travel.

Jane Austen's Regency World

As seen on historicalhoney.com

Historical Honey

Wilkes' "A Visitor's Guide to Jane Austen's England" is an essential addition to any lover of history and/or fine literature's bookshelves. Packed with detail and interesting quotes from Austen, her characters, and their contemporaries, along with explanations of the origins of common sayings we use now, Wilkes does an excellent job of highlighting the similarities and differences between England as I know it and the complicated and highly aromatic home of my ancestors. Thoroughly recommended!

Gill Hoffs, author of 'The Sinking of RMS Tayleur'

Sue Wilkes simply takes you by the hand and walks you through Jane Austen’s world. A thoroughly engaging – and very informative – ‘eye-witness’ guide to everything from medical matters to modes of travel.

Joceline Bury, Jane Austen's Regency World
 Sue Wilkes

About Sue Wilkes

Sue Wilkes is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She has written extensively on social history, and industrial history and heritage. Sue was born in Lancashire, and has lived in Cheshire since the early 1980s. She read Physics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Sue is married, with two grown-up children.

She is the author of nine books and is a well-known family historian. A regular contributor to Jane Austen’s Regency World for over two decades, Sue has written many articles for history and family history magazines such Who Do You Think You Are?. She loves exploring Britain’s history and heritage, and is a keen gardener. 

The birth of Jane Austen

16th December 1775

English novelist Jane Austen was born in the village of Steventon in Hampshire.

Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" is published by Thomas Egerton in the United Kingdom

28th January 1813

Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" is published by Thomas Egerton in the United Kingdom

The death of Jane Austen

18th July 1817

Jane Austen died in Winchester, Hampshire. Jane was buried in the north aisle of Winchester cathedral four days later on 24 July.

View all events View all anniversaries

Perfect Partner

Jane Austen's Best Friend The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd (Hardback)

All fans of Jane Austen everywhere believe themselves to be best friends with the beloved author and this book shines a light on what it meant to be exactly that. Jane Austen’s Best Friend; The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd offers a unique insight into Jane’s private inner circle. Through this heart-warming examination of an important and often overlooked person in Jane’s world, we uncover the life changing force of their friendship. Each chapter details the fascinating facts and friendship forming qualities that tied Jane and Martha together. Within these pages we will relive their…

By Zöe Wheddon

Click here to buy both titles for £32.98
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