A BASINGSTOKE mother has published a second book exploring the 'truly remarkable relationship' between Jane Austen and her father. 

Zoe Wheddon began her journey with Jane Austen in the summer of 2017, when she and her daughter decided to visit every one of the Basingstoke Art Book Bench Trail’s Jane Austen benches.

Following on from the trail, she started volunteering at the Jane Austen House and Chawton House, Alton. 

Although Zoe has previously written a biography of TB Allnutt, the Mayor of Basingstoke during the First World War, and a short book on the History of Sherfield Manor, when she was a teacher at Sherfield School, Jane Austen’s Best Friend: The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd was her first published work, released in 2021. 

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Basingstoke Gazette: Zoe Wheddon has published her second book

The Spanish and French teacher at Lord Wandsworth College, in Long Sutton, has now released her second book called Jane Austen: Daddy’s Girl The Life and Influence of The Revd George Austen.

Speaking about the book, the author said: "Being a teacher myself I was really intrigued to discover that Jane Austen's dad had been a teacher. I wanted to find out if his teaching abilities had any influence on nurturing her talent because in her time it was very unusual for women to be educated in any way.

"When I dug more I thought his life was incredible, he was an orphan and by the end of his life two of his sons had very important roles in the Royal Navy."

"There was obviously Jane as well," she added.

Zoe continued: "I read all her novels in detail and I matched that up with what I had found about her dad's life and there was many events from her life that also happened in her dad's life."

Born in 1775, Jane lived the first 25 years of her life in Steventon and was known to often frequent Basingstoke for dances.

Zoe said she also loves researching the history of Basingstoke.

"I love the link between George, Jane and Basingstoke," she added.

The 52-year-old teacher, who was brought up in Brighton Hill and now lives in Bramley with her husband, Matt, enjoyed exploring the borough and further afield as part of her research.

She added: "It is an unbelievable dream and what is proves to me is mostly in life people are really kind, they want to help you and that is not what the picture is on the news. In life people will support you.

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"I started doing this just for fun and I just did it because I enjoyed doing it and the fact that it has become published is just another dream come true. You should just do things because you want to because you never know where that is going to lead and what opportunities might happen."

She told the Gazette that Basingstoke's Waterstones will be stocking the book with a featured table and she will be leaving bookmarks and signed editions there for anyone who purchases a copy.

She will be doing a book signing at the Alton store on Saturday, June 22.

The book, published on Saturday, March 30, by Pen & Sword History can be purchased now.