Jane Austen's Cousin (Hardback)
The Outlandish Countess de Feuillide
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Eliza de Feuillide seemed fascinating and outlandish to her cousins in rural eighteen century England. When she visited their village, her appearance was electrifying. She was an attractive, accomplished French countess with a vivacious personality who inspired their imaginations and regaled them with stories of life in London and Paris where she hobnobbed with French nobility and wore the latest fashions. One of these impressionable younger cousins would find Eliza’s stories so fascinating that she would incorporate elements of Eliza’s life into some of the most famous novels in English literature. This cousin was Jane Austen.
Yet Eliza’s life was not as glamorous as Jane or her Austen cousins might have thought. She faced many tragedies in her life that wealth and social class could not protect her against. She was also forced to adapt and re-examine her priorities in a way that would dramatically change her life choices and result in a more sedate lifestyle.
Read about the perseverance and courage of the real person behind several fictional characters in Jane Austen’s writings and novels and the deeper connection Eliza had to the Austen family.
Author Geri Walton like many others explores the times of Jane Austen, through another. Cousin Eliza, is described on the cover as the Outlandish Countess de Feuillide! And so she was!Jennifer Walton Chair - Jane Austen Society Midlands June 2021
Eliza was the daughter of Philadelphia Austen, Jane Austen’s aunt. Eliza was brought up in France by her mother, Philadelphia, who ensures that her daughter marries ‘well’, that is to the probably ‘self- styled’, Count de Le Feuillide
Eliza led a rackety sort of life, she was glamorous, adventurous and beautiful. We learn quite lot about her finances, but this fails to account for an expensive lifestyle. She and her husband, the Count went through various vicissitudes, not least the French Revolution and their only child was handicapped. Notably and surprisingly, Eliza was a devoted and selfless mother as well as resilient, independent and brave.
Eliza is undoubtedly the heroine and focus of the story. Geri Walton stays clear of trying to link too many details in with Jane Austen, the author and her family or claiming Eliza had any singular influence on the Austen novels. Family stories about Eliza may well have provided some colour though. It is an interesting and fascinating read.
Another fascinating insight into the life and times of one of Jane Austen's cousins, a French countess, and someone Jane used in her pursuit of perfection to inspire some of her characters. Extremely well written and very interesting subject matter.Books Monthly
Geri Walton tells her story with great enthusiasm embellishing it with many historical details of India and France of considerable interest. Anyone wanting a lively biography of a lively young woman which also gives fascinating details of life in India and France, this book will provide them.Jane Austin Society, Bath
I'd heard about the Countess de Feuillide when reading biographies of Jane Austen and was keep to to find out more about her life in this biography. It's short and sweet, giving lots of information about how Eliza's life and how she inspired characters in Austen's books.NetGalley, Penelope Jenkins
Jane Austen's Cousin is about the illustrious Eliza whose life is described in detail in this fascinating book. Though she was always independent, extravagant and flirtatious, her life was not easy. We are regaled with stories from her birth to death, including her youth, marriages, children including her beloved disabled son, international travels and sorrowful deaths of those around her. She married Count de Feuillide who really wasn't a count.NetGalley, Brenda Carleton
In a time of massive class and gender divisions and financial hardship, Eliza's life must have seemed splendid in comparison to most. It was to a certain extent. Very few had her privileges. Eliza's personality must have been arresting...no wonder nieces and nephews thought her exotic. However, her emotional losses would have been enough to crush most people. The author describes events going on at the time including war and executions, attempted carriage robberies and hail wiping out crops,
Jane Austen's inspiration largely came from real people, especially Eliza. I like that though the book is about Eliza, her Austen relatives are also discussed. They are integral. I also enjoy learning and putting puzzle pieces together. Jane Austen has been one of my most loved authors since a little girl and reading anything related to her is such a treat! Every family has stories, including this one. Little did they know centuries ago we would continue to be this enamoured...but we are!
25th April 1813
Jane Austen's cousin, Eliza de Feuillide, died on 25 April 1813. She was a vivacious socialite who inspired many characters in Jane’s books.