Blog Tour | Mrs Bates Of Highbury #review

I love a bit of Jane Austen and have already read a book inspired by the stories that Ms Austen wrote, so I was really happy when I discovered this book.


Thirty years before the beginning of ‘Emma’ Mrs Bates is entirely different from the elderly, silent figure familiar to fans of Jane Austen’s fourth novel. She is comparatively young and beautiful, widowed – but ready to love again. She is the lynch-pin of Highbury society until the appalling Mrs Winwood arrives, very determined to hold sway over that ordered little town.

Miss Bates is as talkative aged twenty nine as she is in her later iteration, with a ghoulish fancy, seeing disaster in every cloud. When young Mr Woodhouse arrives looking for a plot for his new house, the two strike up a relationship characterised by their shared hypochondria, personal chariness and horror of draughts.

Jane, the other Miss Bates, is just seventeen and eager to leave the parochialism of Highbury behind her until handsome Lieutenant Weston comes home on furlough from the militia and sweeps her – quite literally – off her feet.

Mrs Bates of Highbury is the first of three novels by the Amazon #1 best-selling Allie Cresswell, which trace the pre-history of Emma and then run in parallel to it.


Amazon | Goodreads


I think sometimes I forget that I’m not reading one of Austen’s books when it comes to a story like this one, it feels a bit like visiting old friends and I definitely get that same feeling that I got from the original.

I did wonder if it would maybe feel slightly limiting, that because this is a prequel and we know the outcome that there may not be a lot to work with but I was totally wrong. Allie Cresswell has managed to weave an interesting narrative that well reflects the original book but that can stand on its own merit and has its own charm.

What I loved about reading this one was how the author makes connections and possible pairings, even though you know how it all ends up eventually, it’s the fun of seeing the characters in a different light and having characters interact when you maybe wouldn’t have put them together.

Mr Woodhouse and Miss Bates are a great example of this when they first meet it is suggested that they could possibly be a match, but they end up essentially winding each other up into a tizzy on more than one occasion.

It’s also nice that it is based around a character who may be slightly overlooked, Hetty is well known in that she lets her mouth run away from her but in the original Mrs Bates is mostly silent, so it is nice to get a story for her and to see her personality and how she came to be in her position.

I absolutely have a soft spot for anything that takes me back into the world that Austen created, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this wonderful book to everyone.



It’s only half way through the tour so there are still some stops that you can check out

Mrs Bates of Highbury Ful Tour Banner

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.

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