We are very fond of Bath; we call it “The Happiest Place on Earth” (except after 6 p.m. when one cannot get a bloody cup of tea). It’s so beautifully preserved (and rebuilt where necessary) that one is constantly seeing reminders of Jane Austen’s life or novels. Perhaps this is ironic, as it is an accepted truth that Jane was not fond of Bath, or at least did not like living there, but the city nonetheless is a treat for any Janeite. Jane Austen in Bath: Walking Tours of the Writer’s City is a beautifully-presented little book that is an excellent companion for travelers, including those of the armchair variety.
Ms. Reeve is a Bath resident, and the book shows her familiarity with and pleasure in the city. The walks are quite short, and one could take two or three in a single day, though visitors with more time can ramble, visit shops, and read the information in the book about Jane Austen’s life and works related to that area of Bath as well as history of the city. The walks hit all the main tourist spots, and anyone who follows them will be as familiar as Jane herself was with the geography of this compact little city.
Period illustrations and maps give a real feel for the city, and travelers will enjoy seeing how little (or how much) Bath has changed since the 18th century.
Jane Austen in Bath is a beautiful little book, an excellent gift for any Janeite or even for oneself.