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May, Lou and Cass

Marianne, Louisa and Cassandra Knight - May, Lou and Cass - were Jane Austen's nieces. Austen played with them as children and she sewed and read with them as they grew up. Her influence on them would be lifelong. Although born in England, May, Lou and Cass lived in Ireland for substantial periods of time and all are buried there. Marianne, never married, and she lived in Ireland from 1879 until her death in 1896; Cassandra married Lord George Hill, youngest brother of the powerful Marquis of Downshire, who set up as an improving landlord on an estate in Donegal; and Louisa, after the death of Cassandra in childbirth, moved to Ireland to look after her sister's family and home. She finally married Lord George. In May, Lou and Cass, Sophia Hillan, writer and academic, draws on a vast range of sources - including housekeeping records, diaries, manuscripts and letters from repositories throughout Ireland and England - to tell for the first time the fascinating story of the Knight sisters. Full of high drama - like Austen's novels, the story of May, Lou and Cass has its fair share of elopements, love matches and tragedies - Hillan's story uncovers a rich new seam of material on Jane Austen and her family and provides a fascinating link between Regency England and the turbulent world of nineteenth-century Ireland.
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About the Author

DR SOPHIA HILLAN was Director of the Queen's University of Belfast's Institute of Irish Studies MA programme at both Belfast and Armagh. Her published work includes The Silken Twine: A Study of the Works of Michael McLaverty (1989); and (as editor) In Quiet Places: The Uncollected Stories, Letters and Critical Prose of Michael McLaverty (1992); and her most recent work is The Edge of Dark: the Sense of Place in Writings of Sam Hanna Bell and Michael McLaverty (2001). Her short story, Roses, was featured as part of BBC Radio 4's, Up and Coming Irish Writers.


An extensively researched document of the lives of the landed gentry of 19th century in these islands. * Tirconaill Tribune * a must for all lovers of Irish history and of Jane Austen * Dungarvan Observer * interesting for Austen fans and a sturdy read for anyone curious about the 19th century * Irish Independent Review * beautifully researched and extremely detailed * Senior Times *

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