A Dance with Jane Austen:
How a Novelist and her Characters went to the Ball

Jane Austen loved to put on her satin slippers with shoe-roses, her white gloves and muslin gown, and go off for an evening of fun at the Basingstoke assemblies.

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Jane Austen loved to put on her satin slippers with shoe-roses, her white gloves and muslin gown, and go off for an evening of fun at the Basingstoke assemblies. The Bennet girls share their creator’s delight and go off joyfully to dance, and of course to meet future husbands.

Drawing on contemporary accounts and illustrations, and a close reading of the novels as well as Austen’s correspondence, Susannah Fullerton takes the reader through all the stages of a Regency Ball as Jane Austen and her characters would have known it. Her subjects learn their steps, dress in readiness, find transport to convey them to a ball, choose between public and private balls, worry over a shortage of men, prefer a cotillion to a quadrille, talk and flirt with their partners, sustain themselves with supper, fall in love, and then go home to talk it all over at the end.

“Susannah Fullerton is a terrific writer and if you’re an Austen fan like me then her books are a wonderful addition to the Austen novels. This is a beautiful book full of fascinating information about dance during the Regency and the importance of dance in the lives of Austen’s characters. Intriguing reading.”
― Jennifer Kloester, Georgette Heyer biographer and author

Many people have enjoyed reading Susannah Fullerton’s A Dance with Jane Austen. Read more of their reviews here.

Dances in the Regency era were almost the only opportunity young men and women had to be on their own without a chaperone right next to them, and dancing provided the exciting chance of physical touch. Dances were long – one often spent 30 minutes with the same partner and a ball might last for six hours or more – so there was plenty of opportunity for flirtation, amorous glances, and pressing of hands. After the dance was over, there was all the pleasure of gossip about everything that had happened.

Insights such as these make this book a sheer pleasure to read. A Dance with Jane Austen will be a valuable addition on the book shelves of any Regency reader, Janeite, and history buff.

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