Start reading Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England: How our ancestors lived two centuries ago

Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England: How our ancestors lived two centuries ago [Kindle Edition]

Roy Adkins , Lesley Adkins
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
Kindle Price: £4.35 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £5.64 (56%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £4.35  
Hardcover --  
Paperback £7.99  
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: Up to 70% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.

Product Description


Scholarly but accessible . . . a must for anyone who wants a peek under Mr Darcy's wet shirt (Daily Mail)

Book Description

A revealing, spirited and fascinating account of what life was really like in Jane Austen's England.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3117 KB
  • Print Length: 435 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0349138605
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (6 Jun 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B8TBV96
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #79,687 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A couple of pages into Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England, I knew this would be the sort of book I'd keep on my shelf and refer back to again and again over the years. Roy and Lesley Adkins transport you right 'under the eaves' to overhear ordinary people going about their business in 'Jane Austen's England'.

There's a wealth of detail in this book, taking you from cradle to grave, and explaining all the practicalities of life at the time - never shrinking from the nasty bits (leeches, grim diseases)! Using contemporary diaries and memoirs, the Adkins introduce a cast of real 'characters' - country parson James Woodeford and spinster with a sharp eye for detail, Nelly Weeton.

If you want to discover what life was really like during Jane Austen's lifetime, or you're a dedicated Austen fan looking to delve into the world behind the novels, then this is a gripping read. Historians, amateur or otherwise will equally find this a fact-filled, and extremely readable introduction to a lost world.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Authors of numerous history books, the Adkins have a knack for finding fascinating first-hand accounts to illustrate history in a vivid way. As they showed us life belowdecks on a British warship in Jack Tar; Life in Nelson's Navy, so do they recreate daily life for the middlin' to poor sort living ashore in the same era.

"Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England" gives us a look at the everyday lives of the people in Jane Austen's world. Using bits of letters, diaries, travel journals, ballads, recipes, court proceedings, newspaper notices and other records, Roy and Lesley Adkins enlighten us with tidbits of English social history -- many of them quite surprising.

Using snippets from Jane's contemporaries the authors shed light on such institutions and customs as marriage, divorce, contraception and extramarital affairs, childbirth and childrearing, food, fashion and hygiene, transportation, education, leisure activities, religion, superstitions -- and death.

Impeccably researched and eminently readable, Eavesdropping on Jane Austen is a book to read from cover to cover -- or to be browsed at random. Highly recommended, along with the book, Jack Tar: Life in Nelson's Navy

Includes maps, notes, bibliography and index.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Social history at its very best. 23 Jun 2013
This companion to "Jack Tar: The Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary Seamen in Nelson's Navy", is social and domestic history at its very best, revealing, with much new material and many fresh insights, the day-to-day circumstances, concerns and attitudes prevalent in Georgian England during Jane Austen's lifetime (1775-1817).

Incidents and details from Austen's family history, letters and novels are put in historical context and set against reports and first-hand descriptions from a wide range of contemporary sources. For example, on being taken to court for shoplifting, Austen's aunt had to buy herself a not guilty verdict to avoid deportation, and the author praised the London home of her brother Henry ('It is a delightful place...') apparently unaware that it had a dangerous chimney notorious for trapping boy sweeps in its flue.

Roy and Lesley Adkins' skill in researching, analyzing, juxtaposing and commenting on telling details has created an intriguing and compelling narrative in which our ancestors of two hundred years ago appear both familiar and utterly alien. Young children toiled (and died) in chimneys, mines, factories and on the land; it was legal to kidnap (press) men for the Navy; in middle-class homes the washing was done every five weeks or so, took a week to complete and the washerwomen boarded with the family as did visiting dressmakers; each parish was responsible for the very basic social welfare of its inhabitants; tax had to be paid on everyday staples plus land, windows, houses, male servants, female servants, horses and carts; William Willberforce was campaigning for the abolition of the slave trade abroad whilst vigorously supporting legislation at home to suppress trade unions and the working class.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brings the past to life for the modern reader 24 Jun 2013
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Whilst a lot of people have a romanticised view of this time period, it is often overlooked that during Jane Austin's life we only had 12 years of peace. Yet for many, her work remains the favoured view of the time and to be honest to have an overall look at the time through experts was not only refreshing but also a great way to explore the reality behind the rose tinted version that we all know to some degree or another.

What Roy and Lesley bring to the fore is a book that has not only solid research but also one that takes the reader by the hand bringing the events of the day to the fore in such a way that its not only friendly but also something that is informative without being an infodump. The prose is strong, the overall piece a joy to sit down with and to be honest whilst I was intrigued I was surprised at how much I was drawn into their work. All round a good piece of research. Great stuff.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful insight into the past! 2 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am delighted that I found this book - not only for reasons of research for my own novels (expect gleaned bits of information to be used extensively) but this is also a fascinating, intriguing and (in places) amusing read (there are also some details that make me so pleased I live now not then! I'm not sure that I'd like to call on the blacksmith next time I have toothache!)

Highly recommended for anyone interested in 18th century England or Jane Austen. A must have for writers of this period!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book!
Well written and beautifully researched handbook for life during Jane Austin's lifetime. Husband and wife researchers leave no stone unturned, from motherhood to medicine, fashion... Read more
Published 27 days ago by Carole P. Roman
5.0 out of 5 stars Good service.
Very interesting book. Good service.
Published 2 months ago by PAR
5.0 out of 5 stars ... with a wealth of information on what England was like and how...
Very interesting book with a wealth of information on what England was like and how people lived, at the time Jane Austin was writing her novels.
Published 3 months ago by cosmicelk
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Such a wide range of topics, full of fascinating real-life accounts. A must for anybody interested in this period.
Published 3 months ago by Laura Purcell
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating book
what a fascinating book, I loved every page of it - I do not have a particular interest in Jane Austen, more a general interest in all things 18th century and this covered... Read more
Published 5 months ago by mountainmini
4.0 out of 5 stars A really interesting book.
This book reveals in a clear and interesting way the huge differences in everyday life for Jane Austen and us.
Published 6 months ago by Mrs Mary Boyd
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute treasure
I loved this book. So much interesting information about how our ancestors lived. Using diaries, letters and newspapers it was a real eye-opener. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mrs J Dowling
3.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austin
Lovely idea if slightly lacking in vivid anecdotes and observations of the type that bring a time and place to life. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sheena Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed - great for my research
I wanted to know how my ancestors would have lived around this time and this book provides many of the answers, covering life from cradle to grave. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Anon
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book on socail history
This book is very readable. It gives an interesting view on Georgian England. It's about daily life, not politics. Read more
Published 14 months ago by a biography reader from the town of Darwin's birth
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category