So. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. What can I say? Not exactly my cup of tea? Gritting my teeth to powder?
Courtney, a modern LA woman, falls asleep reading Pride & Prejudice and wakes up in Regency England, in the body of Jane Mansfield. However, Courtney conveniently has access to Jane’s memories and other skills, like an English accent and embroidery.
I was ready to accept the unexplained time-travelling (even if it had strange rules), and enjoy a good Austen-inspired romp, but Courtney force me to give up on the book.
The way I see it, there are only two options: either Courtney is not really a Jane Austen fan, which would put the whole premise of the book in question, or she’s incredibly thick-witted, shallow and self-absorbed. Even if it’s the second, it’s still impossible that Austen is her “choice of drug” or that she read P&P and S&S “more than 20 times”.
It you’re a Janeite, you’d know restricted women were at that time and not go about giving passionate feminist speeches during dinner parties. You would’t ask someone if a certain house was a “retirement center” or think it “odd” to be escorted to dinner. You wouldn’t meet a man-servant unchaperoned in the city park, despite the damages to your reputation. That is not the type of strong-willed woman who Austen wanted Elizabeth Bennett to be, don’t you understand?
At some point Courtney meets Jane Austen (don’t ask) and what does she talk about? How Jane will be so famous and how her books will be made into movies (!), and the great kissing scenes at the end.
Courtney gives other Jane Austen fans a bad reputation.
And the constant whining… Oh dear. About chaperons, corsets, the lack of vodka and make-up (oh how she missed make-up!), the rules of courtship, the horror of marrying for money, women as baby-makers, bad hygiene and chamber pots, doctors using leeches, the smells! A real Austen fan would know and understand about her life and times, even considering the shock of waking up in a different century. Courtney has no idea about Regency England (big no-no with this title), but more than that, she’s condescending about it.
I get that Jane Austen is BIG and understand the temptation to either honor or capitalize on her, but I really do get upset when authors assume that this is what a modern Austen fan is like.
I can just hear you say “Lighten up!”
Read (at least as far as I could go) for Advent with Austen.
Other (more gentle) thoughts: Dear Author, Stephanie’s Written Word, An Adventure in Reading, Alita.Reads, Rhapsody in Books, Proud Book Nerd, write meg, At Pemberley, Dot Scribbles, Iris on Books, My Books. My Life., Redlady’s Reading Room, Bibliofreakblog, The Infinite Shelf, Book Chatter, Galley Smith, She’s Too Fond of Books, A Few More Pages, I’m Lost in Books (yours?)