- The author discovered that one of the National Trust’s most prestigious properties was Jane Austen’s inspiration for Kellynch Hall, home of Sir Walter Elliot in Persuasion
- By researching into the ‘Visitors to Bath’ section of the Bath Chronicle, Jane Austen and her lover were subsequently present in Bath, which was a Mecca for social gatherings of nobility and gentry
- The author was able to confirm the identity of the mystery lover by chance when a physician from the US sent a copy a letter written by the lover that was unearthed in Devon archives
Jane Austen’s life has been meticulously documented, yet hers was a literary voice that begs ever further biographical examination. Jane Austen: Life is Like a Rose chronicles her relationship with the family and friends who would later populate her novels – namely her sister Cassandra and the vivacious Francophille Eliza de Feuillide. From the amateur dramatics held in her family home in Steventon and early examinations in Juvenilia, to her sojourns in Bath and fatal illness while penning Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, the vast array of private correspondence here compiled gives a touching account of the woman behind the genius, and the places and personalities which inspired her.
Supplemented by relevant incisions into her novels, Andrew Norman’s biography also yields an intriguing new solution to the mystery of Jane’s own unrequited love. His argument on the identity of the man with whom Jane fell in love in South Devonshire at the turn of the century makes this an especially stimulating read for Jane Austen fans.
Andrew Norman was born in Newbury, Berkshire, in 1943. Having been educated at Thornhill High School, Gwelo, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, he qualified in medicine at the Radcliffe Infirmary. From 1972–83, Norman worked as a general practitioner in Poole, Dorset, before a spinal injury cut short his medical career. He is now an established writer whose published works include biographies of Thomas Hardy, T. E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, and Adolf Hitler. He has two children, Bridget and Thomas, by his first wife, and was married to his second wife Rachel in 2005.
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Extent: 176 pages
Illustrations: 41 black-and-white illustrations