Title: Jane Austen: A Life
Author: Claire Tomalin
Publication Date: April 27, 1999
While most Austen biographers have accepted the assertion of Jane's brother Henry that "My dear Sister's life was not a life of events," Tomalin shows that, on the contrary, Austen's brief life was fraught with upheaval. Tomalin provides detailed and absorbing accounts of Austen's ill-fated love for a young Irishman, her frequent travels and extended visits to London, her close friendship with a worldly cousin whose French husband met his death on the guillotine, her brothers' naval service in the Napoleonic wars and in the colonies, and thus shatters the myth of Jane Austen as a sheltered and homebound spinster whose knowledge of the world was limited to the view from a Hampshire village.
Notes: There was a mix up last month for our first Reading Group meeting and half of us read the biography by Carol Shields and the other half read this biography. Since I already shared the Carol Shields biography I wanted to make sure that I let everyone know that this is also a really good biography. Those that read it really enjoyed reading this book.