THE REAL JANE AUSTEN: A Life in Small Things, by Paula Byrne. Harper, 2013, 400 pp., $29.99 (hardcover)

Jane Austen may be too likable or lovable for her own good. “Pride and Prejudice,” which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, was recently elected the U.K.’s favorite novel, and Austen herself is in danger of becoming everyone’s favorite maiden aunt — witty, wise and benign despite her emotional disappointments and the restrictions of her life.

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