Claire Tomalin brings her extraordinary gifts of scholarship, fluent writing and empathy for her subjects to bear on one of our greatest, and most elusive, novelists. Widely acclaimed as the finest of Austen biographies, the book offers us a brave, sharp-tongued character who fairly bounces off the page. (Val Hennesy). And along the way it gives us an authoratative, graceful,succinct account of a wide swathe of English society which brilliantly illuminates' the novelist. (Victoria Glendinning).