We’ve never liked using obscure jargon, preferring an uncomplicated, accessible style. There is an art to writing in plain English. It might be plain, but it needs to flow and allow the reader to concentrate on the story, rather than stumble over ungainly sentences. It was therefore pleasing to receive two reviews in the same week that were from opposite ends of the earth but conveyed an almost identical message. The first one was a review of our most recent book, Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England (Jane Austen’s England in the US) that appeared in the Australian blog ‘Reviews on all things Austen’. The reviewer included the comment: ‘I found this book fascinating. It was easy to read (none of that academic jargon)’. The other review was for our previous book, Jack Tar, and it was written by Tony Gerard on the American blog ‘HMS Acasta’ that belongs to a wonderful re-enactment group of the British Royal Navy. ‘Were I an officer,’ he writes [he plays the role of a surgeon’s mate], ‘I’d make it required reading for all Acastas … it’s written in a nonacademic style that’s easy to read.’ We hope he gets promotion soon!