Fellow Persuasion lover, Margaret C. Sullivan's new release THE JANE AUSTEN HANDBOOK (Quirk) is a charming dip into Regency manners and the proper way to secure a husband of good fortune. The Handbook delivers bites of information including the areas of How to Get Rid of Unwanted Guests and How to Carry Off a Secret Engagement. Sullivan's research into the Regency period and Jane Austen's novels is first rate. Her tone is quick and light-hearted, making the short volume a pleasure to read.
I found especially interesting the section on The Best Company; or Social Gatherings. There I learned how to behave at a dinner party - I'll be sure not only to gargle my fingerbowl water and not to drink it - as well as the best ways to avoid dancing with an undesirable partner, though some things never change from 8th grade dances - hiding and lying.
Sullivan's tongue-in-cheek advice extends to matters of the heart:
"Fall into a decline. Make yourself ill with unrequited love. He will hear of it and ride his horse into a lather to fling himself at your feet and beg your forgiveness. Just don't be so stupid as to actually die, especially if he has married someone else in the meantime."
The Handbook is a boon for writers as a quick reference on Regency life or to add a little lagniappe to their work. The appendix details a short biography of Jane Austen and her family, plus synopsis of her novels and other works rounding out the Handbook well.
Image credit: Quirk Books