No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775 at Steventon near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on 18 July 1817.
As a girl Jane Austen wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were only published after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime. These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1818 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.
Fellow novelist Katharine McMahon on Jane Austen...
I can't not choose her. And whichever I've read last is always my favourite. The nuance of emotion, the understanding of human nature revealed by Austen constantly delights me. When I reread Sense and Sensibility recently, for the first time Elinor came across as quite prissy and destined to marry a rather spineless husband. I wonder if that was intended?
While Pride and Prejudice may sit at the top of many people’s favourite Jane Austen books, Emma has to be a contender for the title too. For me Emma has a little more bite, it isn’t quite as comfortable a read as Pride and Prejudice, and that makes it more interesting. In terms of lead characters Emma is right up there, she may be headstrong, snobbish, convinced she knows best, yet because of those characteristics, because she isn't perfect, she also feels so very real. Emma is a bright, beautifully written novel with real heart and I love it.
Full to the brim with ready wit and arch social commentary, this amusing and intelligent book is as relevant today as it was when published nearly 200 years ago. If you haven't previously read any of Austen’s works, this is the perfect place to start, it’s one of her lesser known but more stimulating and provocative novels. Quite literally a book of two halves, we have a story of a young woman learning the difference between reality and fantasy and then a consummate commentary from the author on the literary world at the time. Austen introduces an almost anti-heroine, a kind, caring but not particularly captivating Catherine, then surrounds her with four fascinatingly different characters who range from compassionate, intelligent and gracious to self obsessed, mercenary and petulant. As well as the engaging story, you also discover an author who appears to be somewhat on the warpath. She actually talks to you from the page, her views are so clear, you could be having a face-to-face discussion with her. If you already know Northanger Abbey, reacquaint yourself with this fascinating novel. This actual edition is charming, a perfect size for the hand bag and one to treasure. It also has an interesting Introduction by Val McDermid who has just recently, with approval from the Austen Society, published a terrifically good reimagining in a contemporary setting of Northanger Abbey.
'No sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes...' The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
May 2014 Guest Editor Daisy Goodwin on Persuasion... I love Jane Austen with a deep and enduring passion, and I think the story of Anne Elliott’s second chance is possibly my favourite. The way that she revives as a character like a flower soaking up water is quite miraculous. It is also has a plot of clockwork perfection. I read this book at least once a year and I always find something new to marvel at. The Lovereading view... Set in the fashionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, Persuasion is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, but, above all, it is a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities. In her introduction, Gillian Beer discusses Austen's portrayal of the double-edged nature of persuasion and the clash between old and new worlds. This edition also includes a new chronology and full textual notes.
One of Rebecca Front's favourite books. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen's first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.
Even if you have seen the numerous films and TV adaptations there is nothing quite as good as reading the original book about the Dashwood sisters and the complications and misunderstandings that take place in their love lives. A true classic, a clever, wonderful, romantic read. This edition is published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of its first publication. April 2010 Guest Editor Katharine McMahon on Jane Austen... I can't not choose her. And whichever I've read last is always my favourite. The nuance of emotion, the understanding of human nature revealed by Austen constantly delights me. When I reread Sense and Sensibility recently, for the first time Elinor came across as quite prissy and destined to marry a rather spineless husband. I wonder if that was intended?
One of P. D. James' favourite books. When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.
The classic Austen tale brought to life by one of Britain’s best loved actresses, Juliet Stevenson. Charming. Abridged audiobook edition. 3 CDsRunning Time: 3h 45m
September 2009 Good Housekeeping selection. On My Bookshelf by Penny Smith... This wasn’t a set text for us at school, but I read it anyway and it got me into the classics big time. I had such vivid pictures of all the characters and places. Sadly, every adaptation, including the fantastic one with Colin Firth, was never a patch on my image of what they all looked like and were like. Plus I just love a love story… GMTV presenter Penny Smith is passionate about books and is now a novelist herself; her latest fiction, After The Break, is published by Harper Perennial.
All Catherine wants is to be like the heroines in the books she reads. On her first trip away from home, she finally gets her chance. A new friendship and a growing love lead her to the spooky Northanger Abbey. There Catherine will find that a little imagination can cause a lot of trouble. About Jane Austen Children's Stories:From the gardens of Pemberley to the spooky halls of Northanger Abbey, join some of literature's most iconic heroines on their path to self-discovery and true love.An adaptation of Jane Austen's famous stories, illustrated to introduce children aged 7+ to the classics. About Sweet Cherry Easy Classics: Sweet Cherry Easy Classics adapts classic literature into stories for children, introducing these timeless tales to a new generation.
Elinor and Marianne Dashwood have very different ideas about love. Marianne wants to be swept off her feet. Her sensible sister Elino's feet are always firmly on the ground. But when their father dies and they are forced to move to a new home, will there even be room for love at all? About Jane Austen Children's Stories:From the gardens of Pemberley to the spooky halls of Northanger Abbey, join some of literature's most iconic heroines on their path to self-discovery and true love.An adaptation of Jane Austen's famous stories, illustrated to introduce children aged 7+ to the classics. About Sweet Cherry Easy Classics: Sweet Cherry Easy Classics adapts classic literature into stories for children, introducing these timeless tales to a new generation.
Mrs Bennet is desperate to find rich husbands for her daughters, so the arrival of a charming new neighbour is welcome indeed. Sadly, the friend he brings with him is not. Mr Darcy seems to have even more pride than money. Nobody likes him - least of all Elizabeth Bennet. But not everyone is who they seem.
Eight years ago, Anne was persuaded not to marry Captain Wentworth. Now he is back, rich, handsome and still unmarried. While everyone wonders which lucky lady will become his wife, Anne can't help hoping for a second chance. A chance to prove that her mind may have once been changed, but her heart never had. About Jane Austen Children's Stories:From the gardens of Pemberley to the spooky halls of Northanger Abbey, join some of literature's most iconic heroines on their path to self-discovery and true love.An adaptation of Jane Austen's famous stories, illustrated to introduce children aged 7+ to the classics. About Sweet Cherry Easy Classics: Sweet Cherry Easy Classics adapts classic literature into stories for children, introducing these timeless tales to a new generation.
When Fanny Price is sent away from her struggling family to live with her wealthy aunt and uncle, life doesn't suddenly transform for her. At least, not for the better. From failed marriage proposals to unavoidable class conflicts, Fanny must learn to fit in to a place where she does not always feel welcome./p> As Fanny grows up in the new house, with new rules, and new consequences, she learns about the trials one faces as they enter adulthood. Having nothing to shield her from the constant abuse of her relatives, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, Fanny's life at Mansfield Park is anything but comfortable. Fanny struggles to keep up with the vicious family dynamic among those coming and going at the manor, finding comfort in her only kind relationship with Edmund, the eldest son of Sir and Lady Bertram. When Henry Crawford and his sister Mary arrive at Mansfield Park, suddenly things start to get complicated. As a web of lies, jealousy, and failed attempts at love circulate through the house, Fanny must set aside her own desires to keep the truth from slipping through her fingers. This edition of Mansfield Park is both modern and readable. With an eye-catching new cover and a professionally type-set manuscript, order your copy and start reading this striking new edition today.
Set in London at the turn of the 18th century, The Dashwood family is on the crux of financial ruin after the untimely death of the patriarch. Forced to pack up their belongings and relinquish their comfortable lifestyle, Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters, move in with their distant relatives the Middeltons, at Barton Park. There, they must each adapt to a new, more sensible way of life. Sense and Sensibility is a story teeming with gossip, lies, betrayal and love. As comes with the responsibility of adulthood, Marianne and Elinor Dashwood must both find suitors, or their prospects for a happy life will most certainly be diminished. Needing to stay with their estranged family in their home, the new dynamics of the household are anything but conventional. Elinor, the more judicious of the two sisters, understands the perils of what's to come should she not find a husband. But Marianne has a different agenda. Believing firmly in the power of love, Marianne holds out hope that when she does marry, it won't only be for financial security In Jane Austen's first novel, the Dashwood sisters quickly learn that love requires a balance of both head and heart, and that the commitment of marriage is one that requires a mature sensibility. With an eye-catching new cover, and a cleanly typeset manuscript, this edition of Sense and Sensibility is both modern, and readable.
Catherine Morland is modest and well mannered, more comfortable reading her novels than socializing with people. When she is unexpectedly invited to the English resort city of Bath for the winter season, where many wealthy families reside, Catherine seizes the opportunity. Eager to create some excitement in her life, Catherine will not miss the doldrums of her home in the countryside. Catherine quickly makes friends with Isabella Thorpe, a coquettish young woman who has a predilection for spreading gossip. Quirky, outspoken, and with her nose in everybody's business, Isabella is the complete opposite in personality to Catherine. Soon after her arrival in Bath, Catherine is invited by a family called the Tilneys to stay for a few weeks at their home, Northanger Abbey. Excited for the prospect of living out the very same circumstances as in her beloved gothic novels, Catherine is in for a rather rude awakening. From attending dances, to socializing with members of the upper-class, to investigating a mysterious wing of the old manor that no one is allowed to enter, Catherine escapes her sheltered life for one that is crowded with love, mystery, and betrayal. When she is finally forced to return home from Northanger Abbey, she is left with her wild imagination and a longing for her own chance at love. Worried she has spent too much time with her nose in a book, Catherine is faced with a stark reality-check, she must grow up fast or fear ending up alone. Northanger Abbey parodies the traditional gothic novel in subtle ways. With references to Ann Radcliffe's gothic novels The Romance of the Forest and The Mysteries of Udolpho, Jane Austen created the character of Catherine to remind the reader to be weary of an overactive imagination and that one must exercise caution when decoding what is true as well as what we want to believe is true. With an eye-catching new cover, and a professionally type-set manuscript, this revised edition of Northanger Abbey is both modern and readable. Now in a collectable set, read all the great Austen classics from Mint Editions Books.
Jane Austen's masterworks in a single beautiful Penguin English Library volume Few novelists have observed their society with the wit and insight of Jane Austen. This volume brings together her seven great novels: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Lady Susan. Ironic, comic and wise, these stories of irrepressible heroines, of love found, lost and regained, and of human nature in all its complexity, are among the most enduring works in the English language. The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.