May, Lou and Cass
Marianne, Louisa and Cassandra Knight – May, Lou and Cass – were Jane Austen’s nieces. She knew the girls well, reading and sewing with them as they grew up. Often the subjects of her witty letters, they were still young girls when Jane died in 1817.
Yet, had she lived, she would have seen them live out the plots of her famous novels. Handsome noblemen, dashing officers and penurious clergymen sought her nieces' hands; just like Austen's cherished heroines, they knew well the pains of blighted love and the joy of patience rewarded and they also knew the sorrow of losing their childhood home.
Yet even Jane Austen could not have imagined that her genteel nieces would find themselves in Ireland, a land riddled with famine and land wars. How did these three young gentlewomen come to end their lives so far from Jane Austen's ordered, mannered Regency England? Sophia Hillan, writer and academic, draws on a vast range of sources - including housekeeping records, diaries, manuscripts and letters from repositories throughout Ireland and England - to tell for the first time the intriguing story of the Knight sisters.
Full of high drama - like Austen's novels, the story of May, Lou and Cass has its fair share of elopements, love matches and tragedies - Sophia Hillan's story uncovers a rich new seam of material on Jane Austen and her family, providing a fascinating link between Regency England and the turbulent world of nineteenth-century Ireland.
|Author||Dr. Sophia Hillan|
|Publication date||23 Sep 2011|