As a devoted Jane Austen-fan, I am always on the lookout for new insights in her simple and short life. As this was praised as one of the best biographies ever written about her, I was intrigued. While it indeed was a very enjoyable and interesting biography, it tended to focus more on Austen's neighbors and her family, rather than Jane Austen herself - and as a result, I ended up skipping several chapters.
Some parts of this biography almost became an analysis of Austen's novels - which was rather interesting, but not at all what I had expected. I can easily imagine how hard it must be to seperate the writer from the books, but as there's so many insightful analyses of Austen's works available, it seemed misplaced.
However I do consider Claire Tomalin a skilled writer, and her fluent writing almost made this very historical biography resemble a delightfully told story. I enjoyed parts of it very much, and I did learn something new about Austen's childhood. It is certainly a wellresearched and wellwritten biography of the legendary Jane Austen and her sorroundings.