This book fills a gap in the Austen family background, discussing the state of agriculture in general in the south of England during the wartime conditions which lasted for most of Jane Austen's life, and considering in particular the villages and their inhabitants, the weather conditions, field crops, farm and domestic animals, and the Austens' household economy and rural way of life. All appear in Austen's letters, and appear also unobtrusively in her novels, lending that air of verisimilitude for which her works are famous. Apart from these obvious sources, there are other Austen family manuscripts, as yet unpublished, which provide particular and unique information.
"She sighed for the air, the liberty, the quiet of the country."
Mariana Dashwood, Sense &Sensibility
This is a beautiful hardcover book, illustrated throughout with period paintings, maps, engravings and etchings from famous artists of the eighteenth century. How lovely it was to turn page after page and see a rural painting next to the letters of The Austen Family living in two Hampshire towns i.e. Steventon and Chawton. Also, as an American and glorified Anglophile, the British or English countryside cottage vs. township aspect of rural life was not lost on me. Real history and familial relationships are discussed and preserved with respect in, Jane Austen's Country Life.