It’s no secret that here at The Handbook we love period dramas, from big hitters like Bridgerton to new shows like The Buccaneers and Mary & George. So count us excited for BBC’s new miniseries Miss Austen, based on the 2021 novel of the same name by Gill Hornby.

It stars Bodyguard star Keeley Hawes in the main role of Cassandra Austen, sister of the famous novelist, who is notorious in literary history for burning Jane’s letters. Miss Austen takes this story and develops it as an emotional yet witty story of family and sisterhood.

What is Miss Austen about?

Similar to the recent Emma Mackey starring Emily, Miss Austen goes beyond the books of the beloved Pride and Prejudice writer to tell a story about the author. However, Jane herself has died by the time the series begins in 1830, with her sister Cassandra left with her legacy. Cassandra is keen to help out her friend, the young Isabella (played by Game of Thrones and Vigil’s Rose Leslie ), who’s on the brink of losing her house and possessions following the death of her father. But, as the BBC’s official synopsis reveals, Cassandra is more concerned with the fact that the house contains a hidden, private collection of letters in which Jane is a correspondent, and holds secrets that the world doesn’t know about. Cassandra is worried these documents could wreck her sister’s reputation and is set on finding them.

She locates them and sits down to read- and in doing so is taken back in time down memory lane to her youth, and the mini-series will show us Jane and Cassandra’s younger years, and the formative events, loves and hopes that would shape one of history’s greatest literary canons. Cassandra’s older self, the synopsis concludes, will gain a new appreciation and understanding of the decisions she made for her sister. 

What else do we know & is there a release date?

Miss Austen is set to be four episodes long and will also star Patsy Ferran (Firebrand), Jessica Hynes (Years and Years), Mirren Mack (Sex Education), Phyliss Logan (Downton Abbey) and Alfred Enoch (The Couple Next Door) There’s yet to be a trailer, but the BBC has unveiled a few first look images ahead of the show’s premiere later this year.


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