A Chat with Austen’s Mothers + Giveaway

A Chat with Austen’s Mothers + Giveaway


A birthday cake

My daughter turns three today, and it’s all because of her that I found JAFF at all! I had terrible insomnia during my pregnancy with her. In honor of her birthday, I thought I’d interview the mothers and mother figures in Jane Austen’s books to see if they had any words of wisdom for me.

Rose: Thank you all for coming to this tea. My daughter just turned three, and I have to admit, in a lot of ways I feel more comfortable as the mother of a boy. Perhaps it is because I was never very girly myself.

Mrs. Bennet: You married young, didn’t you? Surely you had some feminine wiles then.

Rose: Um… It wasn’t really like that. We knew we loved each other and were committed to making a life together. We felt essential to each other.

Lady Russell: I always say a lady has no right to marriage with a man that might be inconvenient to her family. It is far too easy to rush in passionately at a young age and then regret it for the rest of your life.

Rose: Thanks for your input… but about my daughter. Maybe it’s because my relationship with my mother has been rocky.

Lady Catherine: Nonsense! A daughter is always more useful to her mother than anyone else. Now, what sorts of accomplishments does your daughter have?

Rose: Annie is only three.

Lady Catherine: What a good name! Well, my own Anne was reading Cowper by that age. She has more natural taste in poetry than anyone in all of England.

Lady Russell: My goddaughter, also Anne, suggests Byron over Cowper.

Rose: But surely not for a three-year-old…

Mrs. Bennet: Is she a pretty girl? It is never too young to think of suitors.

Mrs. Dashwood: I find being pretty is often not enough. I do hope you are putting aside some funds for her.

annie runningRose: We plan to help with college if she wishes to go. A lady has many opportunities.

Lady Catherine: College! Is that a new sort of school for girls? Well, I prefer governesses myself.

Miss Bates: My niece, Jane, would have made a wonderful governess. Although she did compare it to slavery once. I wonder if she has any friends—

Rose: I do have some friends who are teachers that might agree on the comparison. I am not so concerned about her education at this point. She loves frilly dresses but also getting messy. She’s headstrong! We already argue!

Mrs. Morland: Catherine was always getting into scrapes like that. She is not so headstrong, though. I learned to allow her time for activity.

Rose: Did she become adventurous and unruly?

Mrs. Morland: Not unruly and as for adventure, if they do not befall a lady at home she must seek them abroad.

Mrs. Weston: Emma had an active imagination and used her stubbornness to lead others.

Rose: Yes, Annie sometimes leads her older brother.

Mrs. Bennet: Jane always had the sweetest disposition in the world. Annie sounds more like my Lizzy. The girl had no compassion for my nerves!

Lady Susan: I often say that Frederica was put on this earth to try me. Sending her to school was the best idea I ever had.

Rose: I do think she needs more socialization. She starts preschool next week and is so excited about it. She keeps talking about the play kitchen they have.

Mrs. Bennet: Oh no! I never let my girls in the kitchen.

Lady Catherine: Quite right. I commend you.

Lady Lucas: It can be a useful skill, should you have a large family.

Mrs. Morland: Indeed! Does she help with the little ones?

kids at play ground may 2016Rose: She’s the youngest and likely to remain so.

Lady Russell: Does she care for others then? With such energy, she could make an excellent caretaker.

Mrs. Dashwood: Or perhaps she could be the family peacemaker.

Lady Bertram: A pet might do her wonders. Julia would tease my pug, but Fanny was so kind to it.

Mrs. Price: Fanny? Oh! I am sorry, I did not mean to fall asleep. A girl of three is hard to bear, but soon she will be of use. I would recommend finding a position for your boy instead. They are the ones that make a family proud.

Lady Russell: Now, that I disagree with. A daughter might do much better than a son.

Lady Catherine: Hear, hear!

Mrs. Dashwood: My step-son was always a good boy but his wife…

Mrs. Morland: Oh, yes. Do be careful of the young ladies that attach to your son!

Mrs. Bennet: My husband says it is much harder watching over daughters, but I have no idea why. He has three wonderful son-in-laws, and the one that is not rich is at least so very handsome and charming.

Lady Bertram: Beware the charming ones! Best to arrange everything for your daughter and then keep her from outside influences.

Lady Susan: Nonsense. Charming men make the best companions, but a biddable man makes the best husband.

Rose: Well, this is all interesting, but we seem to have strayed from the issue of my daughter. I just worry about helping her grow into a happy and functional adult.

Mrs. Reynolds: My dear, I’ve not said anything before now, but it’s been my experience that they who are good-natured when children, are good-natured when they grow up.

Rose: Well, for as headstrong and stubborn as she gets,  I can say she is good-natured. She generally likes to please me. She loves playing with other kids and her brother. She loves singing and dancing. She has a good sense of humor and an adorable laugh. I shall simply trust that the rest of her personality will help her grow into a delightful heroine one day. Thank you all for coming and putting my fears to rest!

annie at store


There’s nothing like revisiting Austen’s mothers to let me see things more clearly. I hope you enjoyed the chat! Now, instead of gifts for Annie, I’m offering a giveaway for you! Comment by May 29 to be entered in a reader’s choice of a signed print copy of one of my books!

63 Responses to A Chat with Austen’s Mothers + Giveaway

  1. It is unfortunate you couldn’t have Mrs Gardner join you on this occasion. She is grounded, kind, and wise; and her children are well-adjusted. I’m sure she’d have been very supportive and helpful. Sorry I’m too late for the draw.

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