When it comes to details on the lives of late-18th/early 19th century writers Jane Austen and Dorothy Wordsworth, it’s natural to yearn for more. Austen was a prolific correspondent, but so often acerbic in her comments on acquaintances and relatives, that most of her letters were heavily censored by or destroyed outright by family members. Wordsworth, the author of memorable journals and observations , is regularly overshadowed by the famous brother to whom she was devoted, the poet William Wordsworth.

Author Veevers is able to put together enough information on both to compare, contrast, and note when characteristics coincide, avoiding the oversimplification of presenting Austen strictly as “sense” and Wordsworth as “sensibility”. She includes observations on the roles of women in Georgian society and illustrates how regularly the wishes and ambitions of single women were discounted and disregarded. Some conjecture regarding an early failed relationship of Austen’s and the possibility of an affair between the Wordsworth brother and sister ensures that the subjects’ emotional sides are not neglected.

Jane and Dorothy: A True Tale of Sense and Sensibility: The Lives of Jane Austen and Dorothy Wordsworth is a well-written and entertaining account of the lives of two classic figures of English Literature.

Alison M.