I’m Izabel March, a lifelong (well, since the age of twelve) reader of Jane Austen. I started with Northanger Abbey and loved it. Then, I’m ashamed to say, three years later, my mother had to bribe me to read Pride And Prejudice ahead of the television series. This is something I like to gloss over lightly.

In my fantasy Austen world, I am Mr Knightley’s younger sister. I was dodging Frenchmen and Austrians in Italy during the events of Emma, but now I’m home in Highbury living in the Donwell dower house with Mary Crawford collecting cats and fine china and scheming to steal the new Mrs Knightley’s gardener. I may not succeed with the gardener, but Miss Bates is my new best friend.

In reality, I look like an escapee from Tea With Mussolini and can go for days on end without talking to anyone except the characters in my novels and guests in the B&B I help run. I suspect this may not be entirely good for me.

In my past lives, I was an accountant and a bookbinder. Bookbinding is my Love, but it’s not always profitable so I’ve also been a cook in a retreat house, a ladies’ companion (how Austenesque is that?), managed a retirement home for goats, and been the clerk with bad French and a smiley attitude in a tourist information bureau.

This is my Thinking Bench in the garden of the Basilica San Lorenzo. All my stories are planned here far away from the distractions of my flat or the rabbit hole of the internet. When I’m not here, I’m in cafes drinking espresso and people watching. Sometimes I even work.

I’m a Christian and vegetarian and am fond of cats. I also like praline gelato, vintage fairs, Japanese gardens, and charity shops. Along with Jane Austen, my favourite writers are L M Montgomery, Elizabeth Goudge, Anthony Trollope, Carlo Levi, and Eugene Vodolazkin. When not gracing Italian cafes or hiding from the rain in Scotland, I enjoy embroidery, making dolls, and visiting women’s monasteries when I’m pretending to be Margery Kempe.

Thank you for reading this far. If you still want to know me, please subscribe to The Afternoon Tea Report, my sort of monthly newsletter.

Read about my works-in-progress.