Shields, Carol "Jane Austen. A Life" - 2001
I am a huge Jane Austen fan. I love all her novels, love the movies and TV series they created from her material. So, reading one of her newer biographies was definitely on my list.
The first downside is the length of the book, only a little over 200 pages. Of course, so little is known about Jane Austen's life, she lived very secluded, private, didn't even publish her name for quite a while, only wrote six major works.
Despite those facts, Carol Shields managed to write a good account of a life at a time where there were no journalists or paparazzi around to reveal every single step a famous person made. I would have loved it to be longer, to reveal a little more than I knew already but, alas, I can't blame the biographer for not knowing more, there simply isn't. What a pity.
From the back cover:
"With the same sensitivity and artfulness that are the trademarks of her award-winning novels, Carol Shields explores the life of a writer whose own novels have engaged and delighted readers for the past two hundred years. In Jane Austen, Shields follows this superb and beloved novelist from her early family life in Steventown to her later years in Bath, her broken engagement, and her intense relationship with her sister Cassandra. She reveals both the very private woman and the acclaimed author behind the enduring classics Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. With its fascinating insights into the writing process from an award-winning novelist, Carol Shields’s magnificent biography of Jane Austen is also a compelling meditation on how great fiction is created."
I read quite a few novels by or about Jane Austen. Find a link to all my reviews here.
I have also read "The Stone Diaries" by Carol Shields and liked it a lot.