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54 Reviews
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life in Small Things
This is a biography with a difference, in which the author takes an item that Jane Austen either owned, used or would have seen and uses it as a springboard to discuss aspects of her life. These range from an East Indian Shawl, which leads on to discussions of husband hunting in the Raj, the harsh realities of the Georgian marriage market and even the French Revolution;...
Published 24 months ago by S Riaz

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as real as all that
Paula Byrne's Jane Austen is as much a product of the imagination as all the other Jane Austens of biography. It must be so because we have - as Byrne candidly admits - so very little evidence about Austen's life. There never was very much. Austen was an almost entirely private person, and her devoted sister, already by the 1840's experiencing the over-enthusiasm of...
Published 15 months ago by C. Wake


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New ways of doing biography, 23 April 2013
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This review is from: The Real Jane Austen (Hardcover)
I used to be an avid reader of biogs of 'famous people' but got out of the habit and began to find them tedious as so often they start at birth and then grind on and on until the subject dies. This one was a refreshing change and I really enjoyed the use of everyday objects to illustrate facets and characters from Jane Austen's life. Would thoroughly recommend.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 9 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Real Jane Austen (Hardcover)
No mere chronological slog through Austen's life, but a revealing biography that focuses on 'small things' - a chapel cushion or a bolt of lace - to examine the author's beliefs, desires and achievements. You'll need Tomalin also, but I can't recommend this new approach highly enough. It made me see Austen afresh, and that is some achievement.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely written, 6 Feb. 2013
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I am a convinced Janeite. I used to walk past her house in Winchester when I was a boy, and when in the sixth form loved her finely formed prose and sparkling wit. It is good to have much of the intuitively understood spelled out with such lively prose.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh for a family tree!, 8 April 2013
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A. Campbell - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Real Jane Austen (Hardcover)
An interesting read, but could have been so much improved with some kind of time line, and a family tree, as so many Austen relatives have the same name, and the format of the book means dodging here and there without too much chronology.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely book, 21 Mar. 2013
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I would recommend this book to all fans of Jane Austen.
Lots of illustrations. Each chapter revolves around an object associated with this amazing woman.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 20 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: The Real Jane Austen (Paperback)
Heard this on radio 4 last week, wanted to know more. A brilliant read. Interesting facts about Jane Austin & her family.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 31 Dec. 2014
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Mrs. C. L. Seheult "Carole" (Durham, Uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Real Jane Austen (Paperback)
Gift for my daughter
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight!, 2 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Real Jane Austen (Hardcover)
I am a great fan of Jane Austen's novels and, having heard about this biography on a radio interview, was keen to read it. i was not disappointed. The approach is new and the unfolding story reveals a complex and interesting woman who was much more worldly wise than we might have imagined. I shall reread her novels now that I understand more about the events that shaped her life and informed her writing. I would definitely recommend it.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 8 Mar. 2013
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Terribly disappointing.
A very contrived mechanism which doesn't really work.
Writing is redolent of a post-graduate thesis.
Does not live up to the publishing hype
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book!, 7 Mar. 2013
By 
JC "jubee" (tunbridge wells. england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Real Jane Austen (Hardcover)
I have almost finished this book and am already feeling really sad that Paula didn't add another 10 'small things' to write a chapter on. I absolutely love the way that this book doesn't follow the usual path of born/childhood/adulthood/got ill and died. It was a wonderful idea for a book and totally brings Jane Austen to life.Lots of great illustrations too.Brilliant!
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The Real Jane Austen
The Real Jane Austen by Paula Byrne (Paperback - 16 Jan. 2014)
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