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‘Byrne does a fine job rescuing Kick from undeserved obscurity, providing an important chapter to the story of this dazzling doomed dynasty’  The Times

‘Kick herself must have been a great character, and her biographer showers admiring adjectives on her: sweet, effervescent, tenacious, witty. The facts, supported by impressive research, do seem to justify the praise’  Financial Times

‘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

‘Byrne brings to this brief history an eye for telling details of daily life, slaveholders’ unthinkable cruelty, and the fervent work of a few good men and women who changed their world’  Kirkus Review


‘Brilliantly illuminating … riveting’  The Guardian

‘Vividly persuasive’  New York Times Editor’s Choice

‘Magnificent … explodes the old view of her subject … Her method is kaleidoscopic, full of surprises, offering a fascinating social and cultural history of the time served up in a series of learned yet wholly accessible essays, the formidable scholarship subsumed, never paraded’  Times Literary Supplement


‘An utterly captivating and generous book with all the intensity of a diary and the scholarly soundness of a fine biography … You’ll be hard-pressed to set it down’ Chicago Tribune

‘turbo-driven narrative power … vibrant, absorbing, stranger than fiction’  Sunday Times

‘a marvelous book, warm, witty and enormously readable’  Daily Telegraph

‘Altogether excellent and wickedly entertaining’  Washington Post


‘Enthralling and perceptive … A fine biographer has conjured up a dazzling personality and brought her, laughing, back to life … superbly researched and narrated’  Sunday Times

‘a masterly portrait of a remarkable woman’  Sunday Telegraph


‘Inspired … With excellent commentary from beginning to end, this useful book is cheaper than therapy … A wonderful volume for every home’  Daily Mail

‘packages up some of the most beautiful and beloved of poems (from Horace to Clive James, by way of Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson and WB Yeats) as a literary mindfulness cure … Read a poem a day and it could save your sanity as much as any fancy new theory … Above all, the poems remind us what it is to be human in any age, and that we are not alone’  Sunday Times


‘I relished every page … the best book on Jane Austen I have ever read’  The Spectator

‘a definitive and pioneering study of a wholly neglected aspect of Austen’s art’  Times Literary Supplement