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Bringing colour to the life of Jane Austen

Jane Austen At Home: A Biography By Lucy Worsley, Hodder & Stoughton, £25

Jane Austen At Home is not as visual or telly-friendly as you might expect from historian and TV presenter Lucy Worsley, but despite dry patches, there is colour in the detail.

This biography explores Austen's life and career through the homes and rooms she spent time in, from her childhood abode in the Hampshire countryside at Steventon Rectory and the cramped, damp houses in Bath and Southampton she was grudgingly forced to live in following her father's retirement, to her last "real" home at Chawton Cottage - now the Jane Austen's House Museum.

Worsley reveals not a charmed existence, glittering with balls and Georgian mansions, but one fraught with worry, with Jane, her sister Cassandra and their mother becoming strays, at the mercy of Jane's financially secure brothers.

The book also scrupulously chisels away at how Austen's family warped and edited her legacy, whitewashing and prettifying her image as they went.

Ella Walker

Belfast Telegraph

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