Author Marilyn Brant worked as an elementary school teacher, a library staff member, a freelance magazine writer and a national book reviewer before becoming a full-time novelist. According to Jane is her first novel, which won the prestigious 2007 RWA Golden Heart Award. Her next, not yet titled, novel is set for release in 2010. Marilyn resides in Illinois with her husband and son.
One day in sophomore English class, Ellie Barnett's teacher assigns Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice, and Ellie's world is never the same. Ever since that fateful day, the one and only Jane Austin has taken up residence in Ellie's head, her ghost guiding Ellie through some of the most difficult times in her life, serving as her voice of reason and a friend she can trust. As years of boyfriends come and go, Jane remains a constant, along with another not so cherished person, Sam Blaine. Sam, the cute bad boy in high school, has been a source of torment in Ellie's life. Through her college years and after, Ellie has found herself running into him at the worst possible moments. Ellie can't deny her attraction to Sam, any more than she can deny Jane her say. Could it be possible that even Jane Austin has something to learn about love? Jane claims he is her Mr. Wickham, but could he really be her Mr. Darcy?
Admittedly, I thought this was a peculiar premise for a book, but after reading it, in fact after page one, I can't think of enough positive adjectives to throw at it that could possibly give it justice. Told in first-person, this book jumps past and present smoothly, with an equal mix of sweet, funny, and heart-breaking. And, may I add, several `ahh' moments. I find this equally suited for young adults as I do for romance lovers, but would categorize it as literature with romantic elements. The plot flowed well without any dead spots. The secondary characters were endearing and the setting perfect. Mostly, Jane Austin fans will revel in this modern day unique twist on a classic, as well as learning interesting facts about Jane herself. There is just enough mystery of `why' to keep you guessing, and the ending is thoroughly satisfying. This was a truly, irrevocably inspiring novel.