Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister

July 17, 2017 at 11:05 pm (books, history, jane austen, jasna) (, , , , )

I just ordered a book I’ve waited several months for its publication (see what it is), and tonight I find another that “I can’t wait to read!”

Fanny Palmer Austen

We all will have to wait until OCTOBER – by which time it will be JASNA AGM time for those going to Huntington Beach, CA.

Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen, by Sheila Johnson Kindred is EXACTLY what I love to read – Fanny, the wife of Charles Austen (Jane’s youngest brother), was a “naval wife”. Letters exist which give voice to Fanny’s experiences in Bermuda, Nova Scotia, and (of course) England.

“Fanny’s articulate and informative letters – transcribed in full for the first time and situated in their meticulously researched historical context – disclose her quest for personal identity and autonomy, her maturation as a wife and mother, and the domestic, cultural, and social milieu she inhabited.”

“Enhanced by rarely seen illustrations, Fanny’s life story is a rich new source for Jane Austen scholars and fans of her fiction, as well as for those interested in biography, women’s letters, and history of the family.”

Hazel Jones (Jane Austen & Marriage) calls Fanny Palmer Austen an “unsung heroine” and she finds Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister “the first extensive study to focus on a man’s naval career from a woman’s perspective.”

To whet your appetite, sample some of Fanny’s letters in Deborah Kaplan’s book Jane Austen Among Women.


  1. Sarah Emsley said,

    It’s a fabulous book! I hope you enjoy reading it. Thanks very much for sharing the link to the “Austens in Halifax” walking tour Sheila and I wrote.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Sarah – only WISH I could get to Halifax; it’s just “far enough” away that, even living in New England, we never made it when I was a kid. k

      • Sarah Emsley said,

        That’s too bad! I do hope you get a chance to visit someday, but in the meantime, I hope the photos from the walking tour will help you imagine what it might have been like when Charles and Francis Austen and their families were here. During our work on this project, I’ve been very conscious of the fact that of course we can’t really know Halifax in 1809 or 1845 either, even though we live here and can visit the buildings that are still standing.

  2. Sheila Kindred said,

    Hi Kelly, I am delighted that you are so keen to read my forthcoming book about Fanny Palmer Austen. The publication date for “Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister” is now close at hand. I am very happy to be sharing my extensive findings about Fanny. Hers was a short but exciting life, full of adventure and challenges.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Sheila – I’ve had the same thoughts: October will be here before we know it. And I can’t wait to read about Fanny Palmer (for herself; not just for the Austen connection). If you wish to talk about the book, your research, &c – let me know! Will be exciting to hear more, and to read the book. k

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Sheila – Are you planning to be at the JASNA AGM? and if so, is your book going to be available? The AGM takes place right around the time of your book’s release. k

      • Sheila Kindred said,

        Hi Kelly,
        Sorry to be so slow in replying. I was hoping to know when I would have copies of the book available but I can’t be certain how well that will coincide with the AGM. I will be coming and would be happy to see you there.

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