This is a beautiful book. From the cover to the pictures inside, down to the glossy pages, this a wonderful addition to any Jane Austen Book collection. There 100 illustrations and maps throughout the book with 80 of the pictures in full color.
Le Faye is an Austen scholar who has written, edited and compiled numerous works about Jane Austen and so is a great source for learning about Jane Austen and the world she occupied. This book is divided into two parts. The first part contains a short but detailed history of Jane Austen and her family. This intro into Austen herself is followed by two chapters on anything you could ever wish to know about the time period Austen lived in. Everything from the Royal Family and foreign affairs to travel, employment, fashion and shopping and servants is covered. The final section of the book covers each of Jane Austen's novels, including The Watsons and Sanditon, the two novels that Austen never completed. Le Faye describes the settings, action and even the thoughts of contemporary critics for each novel.
My biggest and really only complaint is that Le Faye spent too much time discussing the settings that the characters in the novels lived in. She seemed to go on and on for pages and pages with descriptions of various homes and places that the characters lived in.
Much of the book is written as if the reader is very familiar Jane Austen's novels. If you have not read them, there might be some confusion as to who or what Le Faye is writing about.