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Paula Byrne was born in Birkenhead. Her first book, Jane Austen and the Theatre, was shortlisted for the Theatre Book Prize. Her second book, Perdita, was a Richard and Judy book-club pick and a best-seller. Both her third, Mad World:Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead, and her most recent book, The Real Jane Austen, were published to rave reviews and became best-sellers. She is married to Jonathan Bate and lives in Oxford.
`A touching account ... artfully constructed' Sunday Times `The theatrical zest of the narrative, which is a tie-in with a movie of the same name, holds it all together' The Times Praise for film previews of `Belle': `A lovely, female-centric romance that completely reinvents the period movie in a way that will resound for quite some time' Empire `Elegant and emotionally satisfying ... this handsome period piece tells a continually fascinating, unusually layered story' Variety Praise for Paula Byrne's `The Real Jane Austen': `The portrait of Austen that emerges is sparklingly multi-faceted, catching the light in intriguing ways ... her Jane is far less likely to go for a quiet walk in the garden than she is to be whisked into town in search of a velvet cushion, a necklace or a smart new dress' Mail on Sunday `Engaging, compelling, a delightful and engrossing book. Of course we all know that the "real" Jane Austen will forever be a mystery, but most 21st century Janeites will adore this one. Byrne's passion is nothing if not persuasive' Sunday Times `Brilliantly illuminating ... riveting. By focusing, chapter by chapter, on one thread or another of Austen's experience, Byrne allows us to grasp the richness of her inner life' Simon Callow, Guardian