Jane Austen (1775 1817) was born in Hampshire, England, to George Austen, a rector, and his wife, Cassandra. Like many girls of her day, she was educated at home, where she began her literary career by writing parodies and skits for the amusement of her large family. Although Austen did not marry, she did have several suitors and once accepted a marriage proposal, but only for an evening. Although Austen never lived apart from her family, her work shows a worldly and wise sensibility. Her novels include Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), and Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, published together posthumously in 1818. Margaret Drabble is the highly acclaimed novelist, biographer, and editor of The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Her novels include The Gates of Ivory, The Seven Sisters, and The Red Queen. She lives in London. Julia Quinn is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen historical romance novels, all of which take place in early-nineteenth-century Great Britain. She is the recipient of the RITA Award, romance s highest honor, and is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges."