'...a substantial contribution to studies of women in the 'Romantic' period, lively in its detail, wide-ranging in its argument; seeing Smith as a significant judge of her own turbulent times, and as an influence on her literary successors.' - 'Fletcher's biography is as compulsive as any novel, and it makes the reader simply long to read, and experience the redoubtable Mrs Smith at first hand.' - Kate Saunders, New Statesman 'For those interested in wormen's lives in the 18th century, Loraine Fletcher's book is a valuable addition to a widening discussion.' - Kathryn Hughes, Sunday Telegraph 'Sold, a legal prostitute' in marriage at fifteen, Charlotte Smith left her wastrel husband to support their children as a novelist. Combative and witty, she became a radical, controversial and very popular author at the time when the French Revolution raised high hopes of Reform; she had a lasting influence on the adolescent Jane Austen. Loraine Fletcher's vivid scholarly biography is as readable for the newcomer to the 1790s as for the specialist, tracing the embattled life in the wonderfully self-dramatising fiction.