Jane Austen Week – Jane in Bath

All this week Risky Regencies celebrate Jane Austen’s birthday. Monday through Saturday each of our blogs will relate in some way to Jane Austen, one of the greatest novelists of all time, a novelist who wrote with such acute authenticity about her own time that she gave subsequent generations such love of it that we still savor Regency novels today.

In celebration (and appreciation) of Jane Austen we will be giving away prizes to two of our Risky Regency commenters this week. Amanda has donated a signed copy of Carrie Bebris’s Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery Pride and Prescience, and I have a copy of Maggie Lane’s A Charming Place: Bath in the Life and Novels of Jane Austen to give away. Our winners will be selected at random from all the comments of the week and will be announced next Sunday, Dec 20.

Jane Austen visited Bath as a young woman, once the guest of her aunt, Mrs. Leigh Perrot, who was later falsely incarcerated for stealing a bit of lace. In 1801 Jane’s father decided to retire to Bath, thus Jane had to leave the country village of Steventon to live in a busy city with her parents. Not being wealthy, their circumstances in Bath were less than ideal and the years from 1801 to 1805 (when her father died) were not happy ones for Jane. It is thought that she did no writing in Bath. Still, the city provided her with many opportunities to observe the various characters who lived in Bath and those who visited to take the waters. Perhaps Catherine Moreland of Northanger Abbey reflects the youthful Jane’s impressions of Bath. Anne in Persuasion showed Jane’s more mature, less admiring view.

When Amanda and I visited Bath on the 2003 Novel Explorations Regency Tour, what often filled my mind was that Jane Austen had walked these same streets and saw the same sites.

This is one of the places she called home.

I could imagine her walking a street like this one.

To visit the shops

And gaze in the shop windows.

Maybe she would explore the city and walk down steps like this.

Or visit someone’s Georgian garden.

She, of course, would view the Royal Cresent

And, like we did, she would have danced in the Assembly Rooms.

That’s me, second to the left in the dark blue dress. Amanda is just a little left of center and Deb Marlowe is a little right of center.

If you have visited Bath, what was your favorite place to see? If you’ve never been to Bath, what would you like to see? Do you have any tidbits about Jane Austen’s time in Bath?

Remember to comment for a chance to win! And to visit every day this week

And, don’t forget, Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady is still in bookstores. Visit my website. I have a contest too.

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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