Who was the real Jane Austen? Overturning the traditional portrait of the author as conventional and genteel, bestseller Paula Byrne's landmark biography reveals the real woman behind the books. In this paperback of the landmark biography, best-selling biographer Paula Byrne uses objects that conjure up a key moment in Austen's life and work - a silhouette, a vellum notebook, a topaz cross, a writing box, a royalty cheque, a bathing machine, and many more - to unlock the biography of this most beloved author. The woman who emerges is far tougher, more socially and politically aware, and altogether more modern than the conventional picture of 'dear aunt Jane' allows. Byrne's lively book explores the many forces that shaped Austen's life, her long struggle to become a published author, and brings Miss Austen dazzlingly into the twenty-first century.