by Nancy in Vermont: This novel shows us Cassandra Austen, sister of Jane, as she tries to retrieve some of Jane’s personal letters which were kept by her friend Eliza Lloyd Fowle. Eliza’s house is being sold after her death, followed by the death of her husband. Through the letters, we learn about the Austen family particularly the relationship between Cassandra (Cassy) and her sister Jane. They had a very close and loving relationship, which is why Cassy wants to prevent any details about Jane’s private life to be revealed through the letters. There are many other characters including most of the Austen family and their good friends the Lloyds. Fortunately there is a list of the characters at the beginning of the book. Otherwise it would be a little difficult to keep them all straight. We see the deep and abiding love and friendship between Cassy and Jane and between Cassy and the other members of the Austen family. This is in contrast to the relationship among the three daughters of Eliza Fowle, who seem to have very little regard for each other. A recurring theme in the book is the plight of single women in nineteenth century England, even among the “genteel” classes. If they did not marry, their childhood homes were often left to male heirs upon whose largesse they depended for their support. They were frequently shunted from the home of one relative to another or used as unpaid labor in a relative’s home.