Skip to Main Content

Godmersham Park

A Novel of the Austen Family

Published by Pegasus Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

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.

About The Author

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.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (November 1, 2022)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781639362592

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

Praise for Gil Hornby:

"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

“If you love Jane Austen you're sure to enjoy Gill Hornby's stylish glimpse into the life of young governess Anne Sharp. This elegantly written tale skillfully recreates a world where governesses are midway between the family upstairs and the servants downstairs.”

– The Independent

"The great writer is brought to life in this clever, well-researched piece of fiction."

– The Times (London)

"Extraordinary and heart-wrenching, Miss Austen transported me from page one. A remarkable novel that is wholly original, deeply moving, and emotionally complex. A gift to all Austen lovers."

– Lara Prescott, author of The Secrets We Kept

"Affecting, thought-provoking. A masterly piece of storytelling."

– Helena Kelly, author of Jane Austen, The Secret Radical

"Utterly absorbing. The lives of the Austen sisters are recreated with a brilliant sureness of touch that can only be achieved by deep study of the period."

– Artemis Cooper

“A persuasive portrait of that bane of scholars and biographers…Hornby depicts a romance that could have emerged from an Austen novel and a number of real-life characters whose traits Austen may have borrowed for her fiction.”

– The New York Times Book Review

“A delightfully astute reimagining…The Jane revealed by the letters, and by Cassandra’s own memories, is as witty and mischievous as we’d expect. But she’s also self-absorbed and petulant…Heresy? Not at all. It’s a persuasive picture of a brilliant woman who’s often derailed by her domestic duties but driven to write regardless."

– The Wall Street Journal

“Sure to enthrall Janeites…Like Austen’s cunning social satires, Hornby’s novel works on multiple levels…Miss Austen celebrates not just Virginia Woolf’s room of one’s own, but a home of one’s own—and the joys of female companionship…Continues to twist and turn deliciously.”

– Christian Science Monitor

“Engaging…Lovely… Hornby whips fact, romance and a little Gothic mystery into an imaginative compote that’s bound to satisfy those who hunger for more servings of Austen, and those who just enjoy a good tale. She channels Austen’s wry take on women in society, with a dash of ageism to boot.”

– Minneapolis Star Tribune

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images