Gill Hornby’s wonderfully original, and emotionally complex novel Miss Austen answers a question that has troubled readers and academics for centuries: why did Cassandra Austen burn a treasure trove of letters written by her sister Jane.
It’s 1840, twenty-three years after the death of her famous sister Jane, and Cassandra Austen – alone and unwed – returns to the vicarage in the village of Kintbury. There, in a dusty corner of the sprawling vicarage, she discovers a treasure trove of family letters – and within them secrets that she feels certain must not be revealed. She resolves to burn the letters, even those written by Jane herself. But why destroy so much of her sister’s legacy?