Dear Austen by Nina Bawden - review by Francis King

Francis King

An Indomitable Spirit

Dear Austen


Virago 130pp £10 order from our bookshop

This is, in effect, a love-letter written by Nina Bawden to her husband, who, having recently recovered from an operation for a brain tumour, was killed in the May 2002 Potters Bar rail disaster. Inevitably it is not merely a poignant book but also a highly personal one.

I have known Bawden, albeit not as a close friend, ever since we were both authors eager to establish ourselves in the literary world in the immediate aftermath of the war. She was then not merely a highly gifted woman but also a beautiful one. That she still retains that

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