"Fanny Burney (1752-1840) is best known as the author of EVELINA, one of the most engaging novels of the eighteenth century. But for much of her long life, she was also an incomparable diarist, witnessing both the madness of George III and the young Queen Victoria's coronation. To read the journals she kept from the age of sixteen is to step back into Georgian England, meeting Dr Johnson, Garrick and Reynolds, being chased round the gardens of Kew Palace by the King. . . She was lady-in-writing to Queen Charlotte; she married an aristocratic emigre from the French Revolution and had her first and only child when she was forty-two; she was in Paris as Napoleon's armies marshalled against England, and in Brussels she heard the muffled guns, and watched the wounded being carried back from Waterloo. Kate Chisholm's delightful biography, incorporating the latest research and illustrate with unusual portraits and drawings, is lively, funny, shocking, informative and deeply moving; it paints a vivid portrait of a woman of great talent, against the changing background of England and France, a culture and an age."
"Burney lived for 88 years, from the age of Johnson until the age of Dickens...At eight, she was "a dunce"; at 15, her father remarried and Fanny declared she would "never be happy". Yet at 26, her first and most successful novel, Evelina, was published and achieved an enormous triumph...Chisholm does a fine job of recreating her world...we are offered a selection of insights from [Fanny Burney's] journal that stand out for their clarity and distinction." -- David Nokes * Sunday Times * "Fascinating...Elopements, marital breakdowns, incest, illegitimacy, eating disorders and hysterical illnesses...One of the many strengths of Chisholm's scrupulous biography is that, rather than cash in on the voguishness of this material, she demonstrates how many of these troubles were exacerbated by the values of their time." -- Judith Hawley * Guardian * "A book warmed by affection and understanding of [Kate Chisholm's] subhect, and fuelled by impressive research...Burney is worth remembering, worth reviving, as a compex and idiosyncratic figure of her times, a rich source of information and indeed a writer of genius." -- Claire Tomalin * Sunday Telegraph * "Kate Chisholm gives reportage that is every bit as gripping, witty and incisive as her heroine." -- Syrie Johnson * Evening Standard * "Persuades us of Burney's value as a writer and will send readers to her work with an anticipation of pleasure, which is exactly what a literary biography should." -- Stella Tillyard * The Times *