Monday, May 4, 2009

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

I thought this book sounded like a fun idea. A 21st-century woman, Courtney Stone, wakes up in a 19th-centry woman's body, Jane Mansfield, and tries to make sense of Jane Austen's Regency England life style. Although the idea is a great one, I have to say that I was disappointed by the plot. It borders on mildly entertaining, but that's about it.

I know it's difficult to formulate the intrique, confusion, and misunderstandings, not to mention incredible characters, that Austen is so good at weaving into a perfectly executed story line, but I think if you are going to so blatantly captalize on said author and her vast audience, you've got to hit much closer to the mark. +/-

Not even to mention all the strange inconsistencies. To name an example (of many), one man Jane/Courtney talks to says he remembers Jane telling him about Rosa Parks, but Courtney has no knowledge of it. She also finds a diary in Jane's room that's completely empty except for a couple of pages that are filled with doodlings of Courtney's name, which freaks her out. So, is the author trying to say that Courtney has "quantum leaped" into this body before? Or that some other woman has, who was passionate about civil rights? No idea. This is never explained.

At one point she even meets the Jane Austen, in the flesh, on the street and proceeds to tell her that she's famous and that there are movies made from her books. Seriously?? If you had the chance to meet Jane Austen, this is what you would say?! Please! To me, it just says that the author of this book is not actually a real Jane Austen fanatic. It was pathetic.

There's also too much postulating from Courtney/Jane about why she is in this body and about the similarities between the people in her life at home and this life in Regency England, namely the men she meets and Jane's mother. I found this to be distracting. Apparently, Courtney's romantic/family life is a mess in the 21st century, but in the end, we never get to see what happens to Courtney or the men in her life at home. I thought that was weird and unsatisfying.

I really could go on, but I'll stop there. Overall, I wouldn't recommend it, although I'm still on the lookout for books like this one that are better.

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