A Memoir of Jane Austen: And Other Family Recollections, by James Edward Austen-Leigh, is a biography written by Jane Austen’s nephew. The book contains documentation and also contains his own thoughts on his Aunt, thoughts taken from when he was a child. The recollections are also given by other nieces, nephews and family members who were in contact with Jane.
The book is well-written, and I gleaned a few insights regarding Jane, her familial interactions, and interactions on the social scene. There are instances, events and visits described, that the reader might not otherwise know about. That, in itself, is a positive reason to read the book if you are a diehard Jane Austen fan.
Within the pages the reader gets glimpses of life during Jane’s time period. The word imagery is well done, and the reader can visualize images before their eyes. The social mores, and/or Jane’s acceptance of them, is clearly evident throughout the book. One can understand the forces behind her writing, the forces that drove her characters to do what they did, and the forces that depicted the individuals in her books the way she described them.
Jane’s family gathered papers and documents in order for Austen-Leigh to write the biography that the family members felt was necessary. Yet, not all information regarding her was published in the pages of the book. The mores of the time were strict regarding privacy, and much of the letters and documents were left out of the book.
If you like Jane Austen’s work, I recommend A Memoir of Jane Austen: And Other Family Recollections, by James Edward Austen-Leigh.