`Dazzling...full of special delights. Harman excels in the vivid presentation of scenes, the selection of detail...[a] marvellous and beautifully written book.' Elspeth Barker, Independent on Sunday At the age of fifteen, Fanny Burney made a bonfire of all her works, `with the sincere intention to extinguish for ever in their ashes her scribbling propensity'. She was anxious that she might turn into an author, a fate incompatible - for a woman - with respectability. Her hope was in vain. Not only was she to write four novels (`Evelina', `Cecilia', `Camilla' and `The Wanderer'), all of which are still in print, she also kept a voluminous diary for the next seventy years and was a prolific letter-writer. Daughter of the eminent music historian Dr Charles Burney; friend of Sheridan, Garrick, Burke and Johnson; second keeper of the robes to George III's Queen Charlotte; wife to a refugee French aristocrat; detained for ten years in revolutionary France; horrified witness of the aftermath of Waterloo; victim of a mastectomy without anaesthetic...Fanny Burney's life was as eventful as any novel.