Ventura County

Reading Group

Next Meeting

January 20

What Regency Women Did For Us by Rachel Knowles

Location: E.P. Foster Library, Ventura


The Ventura Jane Austen Reading Group’s current yearly format includes reading and discussing four of Austen’s works with accompanying letters, as well as biography, novels and nonfiction illustrating the Regency era. At present, we have approximately 14 members, and our moderating is done by a different member each month. The group maintains a Ventura Jane Austen blog. Meetings are held at the E.P. Foster Library in Ventura.


Around 1995, Lillian Goldstein started the Ventura Jane Austen Reading Circle to celebrate the author’s birthday each December. A few years later, the reading group began meeting monthly at the Foster Library, with a December party at a member’s home. For about seven years Dr. Gracia Fay Ellwood, moderator emerita, led our small group in a concentrated study of Austen’s writings, letters and biographies. To broaden the focus, we launched an 18-month project of examining popular novels written either in similar style to Austen or as a tribute to her work, from Jane Eyre to Twilight.

Reading List Archive


January 20

What Regency Women Did For Us by Rachel Knowles


January 21

The Wanderer, or Female Difficulties by Fanny Burney

February 18

Growing Older with Jane Austen by Maggie Lane

March 18

The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth

April 15

Belle by Paula Byrne

May 20

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

June 17

Founding Mothers, the Women Who Raised Our Nation by Cokie Roberts

July 15

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

September 16

Mr. Collins Considered (aka Jane Austen and the Interplay of Character) by Ivor Morris

October 21

History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding

November 18

Hornblower and the Hotspur, Vol. 3 by C.S. Forester


January 16

Juvenilia by Jane Austen; Letters 81-86

February 20 Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall by Winston Graham; Letters 87-91

March 19

Our Tempestuous Day: A History of Regency England by Carolly Erickson; Letters 92-96

April 16

Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen by Sarah Jane Downing; Letters 97-105

May 21

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell; Letters 106-120

June 18   

Sanditon by Jane Austen and Another Lady; Letters 121-129

July 16

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; Letters 1-7 and 70-80

September 17

The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe; Letters 130-145

October 15

Emma: A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith; Letters 146-154

November 19

Lieutenant Hornblower by C.S. Forester; Letters 155-CEA/3

2015 January 24​​ Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester February 21​ The Courtesan’s Revenge by Frances Wilson March 21 The Watsons by Jane Austen April 18 The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer May 16 Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons June 20 Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen July 18 My Dear Charlotte by Hazel Holt September 19 ​Waverly by Sir Walter Scott October 17 Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen November 21 Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil Brinton 2014 January 18 Longbourn by Jo Baker February 15 Jane Austen’s Letters, Letters 41-74, edited by Deirdre Le Faye (fourth edition) March 15 Duty and Desire–These Three Remain by Pamela Aidan April 19 Emma by Jane Austen May 17 George Knightly, Esquire: Charity Envieth Not by Barbara Cornthwaite June 21 The Real Jane Austen by Paula Byrne July 19 George Knightley, Esquire: Lend Me Leave by Barbara Cornthwaite September 20 Jane Austen’s Sailor Brothers by J.H. Hubback and Edith C. Hubback (grandson and great granddaughter of Sir Francis Austen) October 18 Mansfield Park by Jane Austen November 15 Persuasion by Jane Austen 2013 January 19 Discussion: minor characters in Northanger Abbey compared to minor characters in other Austen novels February 16 Sanditon by Jane Austen March 16 The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James April 20 Jane Austen’s Letters, Letters 1-40, edited by Deirdre Le Faye (fourth edition) May 18 Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester June 15 An Assembly Such as This, A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan July 20 Belinda by Maria Edgeworth September 21 Lady Susan by Jane Austen October 19 A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer November 16 Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin