Sunday, November 19, 2017

Jane & Me - Caroline Knight

Caroline Jane Knight is the 5th great niece of the writer Jane Austen.  She grew up at Chawton House - the home of the Knight family, where Jane Austens brother Edward Knight inherited.  Caroline, and her brother are the last of the family to live at the house, and in this book she writes about the rich history of the Knight and Austen family.

This however is the story mainly about Caroline and her life, and somehow I think I was expecting to find some Jane Austen secrets in the book.  A found manuscript, a hidden locket or bonnets found in the attic - alas it was not to be,and I came away none the wiser about the author.  I did however get an understanding of how tough it must have been two hundred years ago, when women's lives were at the mercy of the menfolk of the family.  How they relied on the their fathers and brothers to look after them, and there must have been limited security, as the women would often be made homeless when husbands and fathers died.

With a great increase in the interest in Jane Austen in the past few decades, Caroline Knight to her credit has been telling her story at events, and updated the family history  of Chawton House, which was last written about 100 years ago by her great grandfather.  She has also established a foundation to assist with literacy using her famous great aunts name.  3/5


sallyhicks said...

That sounded if it was going to be a book of great promise. How disappointing. Seems like she is selling the book on the back of Jane Austen when if she had only the distant related contact it would not be a book to buy. A nice old diary or two would have been the ultimate. I wonder if they checked the floor boards for a loose one. That seemed to be a popular place for secret things.

John Bellen said...

I always think it sad when a house that was meant to be a family home must be sold to an institution, even if it is one dedicated to a worthy cause. Nothing interests me about an historic house that is a school now or a government headquarters. It would have been much better if the Knights had been able to keep the house as a family home - or even sold it to another family.