Book Tour: Godmersham Park

I’m so pleased to be today’s stop for the Godmersham Park book tour! Thanks to Austen Prose, Pegasus Books, and Gill Hornby for the beautiful physical copy! This book is available now.

Synopsis (from media kit):

A richly imagined novel inspired by the true story of Anne Sharp, a governess who became very close with Jane Austen and her family by the #1 International bestselling-author of Miss Austen.On January 21, 1804, Anne Sharpe arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent to take up the position of governess. At thirty-one years old, she has no previous experience of either teaching or fine country houses. Her mother has died, and she has nowhere else to go. Anne is left with no choice. For her new charge—twelve-year-old Fanny Austen—Anne’s arrival is all novelty and excitement.

The governess role is a uniquely awkward one. Anne is neither one of the servants, nor one of the family, and to balance a position between the “upstairs” and”downstairs” members of the household is a diplomatic chess game. One wrong move may result in instant dismissal. Anne knows that she must never let down her guard.

When Mr. Edward Austen’s family comes to stay, Anne forms an immediate attachment to Jane. They write plays together and enjoy long discussions. However, in the process, Anne reveals herself as not merely pretty, charming, and competent; she is clever too. Even her sleepy, complacent, mistress can hardly fail to notice. Meanwhile Jane’s brother, Henry, begins to take an unusually strong interest in the lovely young governess. And from now on, Anne’s days at Godmersham Park are numbered.


  • “This is a deeply imagined and deeply moving novel. Reading it made me happy and weepy in equally copious amounts…I read it straight through without looking up.”— Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Bookclub 
  • Hornby’s skillful mix of fact and fiction captures the complexities of the Austens and their era, and her crisp, nimble prose sparkles throughout. Best of all, Hornby genuinely channels the sentiment of 19th-century English literature. Janeites aren’t the only readers who will relish this smart, tender tale.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review 

“…a well-written and delightfully observant novel…an excellent read.”— The Historical Novel Society

My Thoughts:

Godmersham Park was such a joy to read. The story surrounds Anne Sharp–clever, talented, and lovely governess to Fanny Knight, Jane Austen’s young niece. I absolutely love that a voice was given to Anne, and that the story constantly underlines the challenges women of all classes faced during Austen’s time. I admit, I really had no knowledge about the situation of governess, and how tricky that situation was in regards to one’s place in the household. While I do have more knowledge about how powerless many women were during this time (especially women in the lower classes), it was still frustrating to experience while reading. Anne herself, as written by Hornby, is inspiring, independent, and interesting. Unsurprisingly, I particularly enjoyed everything about Anne’s friendship with Jane herself. Special merit should be given to young Fanny Knight, because without her journals, so much about Anne’s life while working as a governess at Godmersham might not have been known!

Hornby’s writing is gentle and uplifting, and she moves the reader through the story with grace. While I felt the story reads quite quickly, it is full of depth. I definitely recommend to those who enjoy historical fiction and anything related to the Austens!


Gill Hornby is the author of the novels Miss Austen, The Hive, and All Together Now, as well as The Story of Jane Austen, a biography of Austen for young readers. She lives in Kintbury, England, with her husband and their four children.

Link to Goodreads Page

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