Friday, June 25, 2021

Sophia Rose Reviews-Jane Austen’s Cousin: The Outlandish Countess de Feuillide by Geri Walton

Today on the blog my partner in crime Sophia Rose is reviewing a biography of a cousin of one of Sophia's all time favorite authors,  Jane Austen’s Cousin: The Outlandish Countess de Feuillide by Geri Walton.
See what she thinks about this one.

Jane Austen’s Cousin: The Outlandish Countess de Feuillide by Geri Walton


Publisher:  Pen and Sword History

Published:  5.30.21

ISBN:  152673463X

Pages:  152

Rating: 3.5 stars

Format: eARC

Source:  Net Galley

Sellers:  Amazon

ADD TO: GoodReads 

GoodReads Blurb:

Eliza de Feuillide seemed fascinating and outlandish to her cousins in rural eighteen century England. When she visited their village, her appearance was electrifying. She was an attractive, accomplished French countess with a vivacious personality who inspired their imaginations and regaled them with stories of life in London and Paris where she hobnobbed with French nobility and wore the latest fashions. One of these impressionable younger cousins would find Eliza's stories so fascinating that she would incorporate elements of Eliza's life into some of the most famous novels in English literature. This cousin was Jane Austen.

Yet Eliza's life was not as glamorous as Jane or her Austen cousins might have thought. She faced many tragedies in her life that wealth and social class could not protect her against. She was also forced to adapt and re-examine her priorities in a way that would dramatically change her life choices and result in a more sedate lifestyle.

Read about the perseverance and courage of the real person behind several fictional characters in Jane Austen's writings and novels and the deeper connection Eliza had to the Austen family.


Sophia Rose's Review:

Ever since I read a biography of Jane Austen, I have been captivated by one of her cousins- a most colorful and flirtatious figure.  Jane Austen’s cousin Eliza and her mother lived lives that might have graced an Austen novel and, may have…

So, when I spotted this biography that dealt exclusively with Eliza de Feuillide’s life, I couldn’t resist snatching it up to learn more about her and the world she lived in.


The author begins the books with Eliza’s parents’ stories- Philadelphia Austen (older sister to Jane’s father, George) and Tysoe Hancock.  Philadelphia was apprenticed as a seamstress, but she had ambitions to be a gentlewoman so daringly sailed for India to meet and marry a lonely doctor, Hancock.  Hancock worked for the East India Company and had ambitions to amass a fortune and move back home.  In India, the Hancocks became friendly with another East India Company man, Hastings.  Rumors abound that Hastings was the true father of Eliza, but he never acknowledge this and neither did her parents if it was so.  He did, however, leave her a goodly amount of money as her godfather.


Eliza as the central figure emerges when she is about fifteen and her father dies.  Philadelphia takes her to Europe and they settle in Paris.  Yes, they crossed paths with Marie Antoinette and the troubles and Eliza was married to a rascal who may or may have not been a true count, but she used the countess title when fleeing back to England.  Eventually, Eliza remarries and to Jane Austen’s own handsomest brother, Henry.  


I was equal parts interested and distracted.  The author, at times, let herself get distracted down rabbit trails that seemed to have little to do with Eliza or contributed to the immediate background of her life and, at other times, she filled in unknown data with speculation that might be entertaining, but also amounted to fiction.  Do I think Eliza led a fascinating life and saw more than the average English gentlewoman of Austen’s time?  I surely do and I have no problem buying in that her little cousin Jane might have looked up to her and featured her in her stories and novels.  Eliza was fun and spirited, generally loved.


I didn’t read much that I didn’t already come across about Eliza from other sources, but it was lovely to have it all compiled into one book about her.  As Georgian Era personal stories go, hers is not boring and tedious though, as I said, the background material can slow up the pace.  A nice window into the Georgian Era world and another facet into the life of a brilliant English author.


Author’s Bio:

Geri Walton has long been fascinated by history and the people who create it. As a child growing up in a large family in Utah, she loved to sit around in a big circle with family members, sharing stories. Her father’s many stories—from not only his own childhood but the lives of their ancestor’s—particularly fascinated her.

After a long career in technical writing and publishing in the computer industry, Geri returned to history as her first love. She worked on several different books, articles, and blog ideas before realizing her passion was around the history and people of the 1700s and 1800s. So, she started her current blog in 2013.

Geri lives in Northern California with her husband, son, and two Pomeranians. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and jogging. She is also a bit of a health nut. Geri graduated summa cum laude with BA in History from San Jose State University.



Sophia’s Bio:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

Sophia’s Social Media Links:






  1. Interesting Sophia Rose. How fascinating how she married someone who may or may not have been a Count and then later marries Jane's brother.

    1. Yes, she seemed to live a slightly unconventional life compared to her Austen cousins.

  2. Can't say I know anything about her, so interesting

    1. Yes, I thought she sounded like a very fun person.

  3. Sure sounds like she has an interesting life.