by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens
*** About the Book ***
This book consists of two parts. Part one is a history of England written by Jane Austen at age 16 to be performed for her family's entertainment. Part two is an excerpt from Charles Dickens's lengthy work A Child's History of England, a book that was used to teach history in British schools for many years. There is also an introduction by historian David Starkey.
*** Why I Read It ***
I'm not sure where I first heard about this but I was intrigued by a "unknown" Jane Austen work. Plus I love Dickens, so I knew I'd have to read this. I wish listed it on paperbackswap.com and eventually got a copy about a year ago. And it sat on my shelf until now. I needed a book that I could finish quickly (before I get my copy of THE GATHERING STORM on 10/29) and this fit the bill.
*** My Thoughts ***
This is a great little book. Austen's portion is a completely biased overview of the British monarchy from Henry IV through Charles I. According to Starkey's introduction, it was meant to be something of a parody of the history lessons taught to young ladies at that time. She does things like excusing all of Charles I's faults on the basis that he was a Stuart, and Stuarts can do no wrong. It was quite amusing! The excerpt from Dickens' work covers approximately the same time period. It was fun to compare their differing takes on the same events. Dickens's history is rather biased as well though, and this was the text taught in schools?! Crazy.
I enjoyed reading this but I think I'd have gotten more out of it if I'd been more familiar with this portion of British history. For those who know this era pretty well, I think you'll get a lot of laughs out of this little book. It would have been a perfect read-a-thon choice for some of you!
Oh, and I do have to add that I love David Starkey's introduction. It gave me the background I needed to understand the purpose of Austen's and Dickens's works. Plus I could imagine Starkey reading to me in his lovely accent (I LOVED his TV series on the wives of Henry VIII).
*** Your Thoughts ***
Does this sound like something you'd like to read? Let me know your thoughts!
So far I haven't found any blogger reviews of this book - did I miss yours?