‘A charming novel about friendship and the literary life’ (Washington Post), 'Jane Austen and Shelley in the Garden: A Novel with Pictures' is the third work of fiction by literary scholar and biographer Professor Janet Todd.

Jane Austen is such a presence in Fran’s life that she seems to share her cottage and garden, becoming an imaginary friend. Fran’s conversations with Jane Austen guide and chide her – but Fran is ready for change. An encounter with a long-standing friend, and a new one, a writer, lead to something new. The three women unite in their love of books and in a quest for the idealist poet Shelley at two pivotal moments: in Wales and Venice. Despite the appeal of solitude, they open themselves to different ways of living outside partnership and family. This ‘coming of old age’ novel is a (light) meditation on age, literature, friendship, hope, and the joy of new opportunities.

PROFESSOR JANET TODD (NC 1961) is well-known for her biographies of women writers, and is the author of many critical works on subjects ranging from working-class poets, hymn writers and Restoration tricksters to Rousseau, the Marquis de Sade and gothic cinema. More recently she has made the shift to fiction, and has now published three novels.