Jane Austen (1775-1817) was extremely modest about her own genius but has become one of English literature's most famous women writers. She is also the author of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey. Kathryn Sutherland is a reader in English at St Anne's College, Oxford. Tony Tanner was a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Cambridge.
This has been called Jane Austen's finest work but it is probably the least popular, due to the unsympathetic nature of her heroine, Fanny Price, who, it cannot be denied, is a smug little Goody Two-Shoes. This is the novel in which nasty Aunt Norris commits outrage after outrage and finally gets her come-uppance. But it also contains the incomparable Lady Bertram, idlest woman in fiction, and, in fat ill-tempered Pug, Jane Austen's only dog. Review by Ruth Rendell, whose crime novels include 'The Bridesmaid' (Kirkus UK)