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Among the many new books written to celebrate this year’s bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death, Jane & D’Arcy, an unheralded contribution from Australia, could be the blockbuster. It tells a story from the Wentworth family, never before made public, of the teenage romance of Jane Austen and D’Arcy Wentworth.

Their enduring romance inspired much of Jane Austen’s writing, D’Arcy remained the fixed star in her firmament. In their separation, in time their lives blossomed, each within their narrow confines. It was as if their parting gave them the opportunity to fulfil their destiny.

Jane Austen went on to publish and hand down to posterity, novels that would amaze the whole room. D’Arcy, an Irish surgeon, became a leader in the early colony of New South Wales, and an advocate for the rights of the convicts and emancipists. His eldest son, William Charles, the Native Son, was the liberator of New South Wales from British colonial rule.

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