Author Talk and Signing: Gill Hornby – Godmersham Park

From the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Miss Austen, which was picked as one of the best novels of the year by the Times, Observer and Stylist, comes a wonderfully original, emotionally complex novel. Set in 1804 the novel follows Anne Sharp, a governess who became close to Jane Austen and her family.

Gill Hornby – Godmersham Park
The Collection, Auditorium
7.00 pm, Wednesday 6th July 2022
Tickets: £7, £19 single plus book, £22 couple plus book

On 21 January 1804, Anne Sharpe arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent to take up the position of governess. At 31 years old, she has no previous experience of either teaching or fine country houses. Her mother has died, and she has nowhere else to go. Anne is left with no choice. For her new charge - twelve-year-old Fanny Austen - Anne's arrival is all novelty and excitement. The governess role is a uniquely awkward one. Anne is neither one of the servants, nor one of the family, and to balance a position between the 'upstairs' and 'downstairs' members of the household is a diplomatic chess game. One wrong move may result in instant dismissal. Anne knows that she must never let down her guard. When Mr Edward Austen's family comes to stay, Anne forms an immediate attachment to Jane. They write plays together and enjoy long discussions. However, in the process, Anne reveals herself as not merely pretty, charming and competent; she is clever too. Even her sleepy, complacent mistress can hardly fail to notice. Meanwhile Jane's brother, Henry, begins to take an unusually strong interest in the lovely young governess and from now on, Anne's days at Godmersham Park are numbered. 

Gill Hornby is the author of the novels The Hive and All Together Now, as well as The Story of Jane Austen, a biography of Austen for young readers. She lives in Kintbury, Berkshire, with her husband and their four children.