SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (5-25-09)
Although Austen never married, the emotional warmth of her romantic novels has always fed speculation about her private passions.
The 2007 film Becoming Jane explored her youthful flirtation with a handsome Irishman named Tom Lefroy who – it is suggested – was the inspiration for the rugged Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
But now a literary historian claims that her true love was a clergyman named Dr Samuel Blackall, who first caught Austen's attention in 1798 when he was a guest of their mutual friends, the Lefroys.
According to Dr Andrew Norman, Dr Blackall's letters to friends disclose his wish to pursue a courtship with the young author, but his uncertainty was treated as a snub by Austen.