Top critical review
A quite good work could have been better
on 5 June 2015
There are innumerable books about Jane Austen (as the detailed bibliography included indicates), some better than this though this covers both her life and the later story of her books. There is also a very comprehensive index although I was surprised that it does not include any reference e.g. to "church", "Church of England", "Book of Common Prayer", "parson" or "clergymen" - all very relevant, one would think, in any study of the life of Jane Austen, From the beginning, however, in what some have described as an "elegant" book, I found irritating Claire Harman's referring to her subject as both "Jane" and "Austen", often in sentences close to each other. And I am even more irritated when a writer cannot use the word "Reverend" correctly. It is always incorrect to refer to e.g. (The) Reverend/Rev./Revd Austen, as it is always incorrect to refer e.g. to Honourable/Hon.Smith. One should write The Reverend George Austen and usually subsequently refer to him as Mr Austen. ( "Reverend" can be abbreviated as Revd without a full-stop or Rev.) This example of grammatical ignorance is widespread today, especially in the US, in books and in the media generally but that does not make it correct, and this incorrect usage always diminishes my appreciation of the work of any writer. I don't damn with faint praise, but just the opposite.