Jane Austen, born 1775, lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family of the English landed gentry. Her novels are set among this social class and are valued for their realism, irony and social commentary. Her acclaimed plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing. Jane, as well as her sister Cassandra, never got married. She was in love once, but neither she nor Tom Lefroy had any money. Some years later, Jane was proposed to by a wealthy but tactless man. This marriage would have helped her whole family. However, in the end Jane declined, as she wrote: "Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without affection". Jane Austen was a successful author, but not very famous in her lifetime. Her first novels were published anonymously. Only in the 20th century did she become widely accepted as a great English writer. After over a year of battling a bed-confining illness, Jane Austen died aged 41.