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What Would Jane Austen Do? [Mass Market Paperback]

Laurie Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 4.16 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402218311
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402218316
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 807,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Heroine Eleanor Pottinger is a costume designer from Los Angeles who arrives in Hampshire, England for Regency Week jetlagged and downtrodden after being unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend. She has booked her accommodations at Twixton Manor Inn, an eighteenth-century grand manor house converted into a hotel whose staff has lost her reservation and must put her up in the only room left available - the haunted one that they never use. Undaunted, Eleanor just wants sleep and does not care if she shares it with anyone, spectral or otherwise. When the two ghostly sisters Mina and Deirdre materialize to haunt her, she strikes a bargain with them to travel back to Regency times to thwart a deadly duel that kills their brother Teddy if they will in turn introduce her to their neighbor, her favorite author Jane Austen. Eleanor awakens in 1814 to meet the sisters and their family living at Twixton Manor with a house full of guests including hunky rake Lord Shermont, an agent for the crown who is secretly hunting for a Napoleonic spy among them. Eleanor quickly becomes his chief suspect. Motivated to meet Jane Austen, Eleanor engages in a week of social activities to discover which of the sister's honor will be compromised provoking Teddy into duel with Shermont. Somehow she must figure out how to alter history and avert the deed and save his life. As a twenty-first century woman, Eleanor struggles with the Regency lifestyle and often asks herself "what would Jane Austen do?" in the same situation which works beautifully until romance gets in the way as she is courted by Teddy and the known womanizer Lord Shermont. Questioning their motives may be the key to her unraveling the mystery and discovering if she has fallen in love with a spy or an Austen-esque hero. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining on a rainy weekend! 22 May 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are a Regency purist this isn't the book for you!

The dialogue of the supposed English upper-class characters is distinctly modern American, peppered with British slang. This includes such shockers as the host of the house party referring to his titled male guest as "old sod"!! This reference is derived from the word "sodomite" - and would have resulted in great offence being taken, if not a challenge to a duel issued! One of the upper class ladies also uses the reference "not a lick of sense" in speaking of a fellow guest - definitely a no-no for a gently-bred lady of the times. Scattered throughout, are some slang terms which are distinctly British lower-class, and unlikely to be used by "gentlemen" of the period.

Having said all that, I don't wish to be too harsh, as the authoress has taken pains to provide some authentic details too. I picked up a bit of interesting knowledge of the bathing practises of the time ... which quite amazingly, for all the elegance required of the higher society, occured as little as possible! (Yuck!)Also, as our heroine Eleanor is concerned with the fashions of the time, there is quite a bit of description of gowns & etc., too.

If you can deal with the clashing mixture of Americanised/British upper/lower class dialogue, the story itself is an interesting one, and ends happily for all the likeable parties... plus the ghosts!

So - if you're looking for a light,interesting, romantic "read" this is the one for you.

Also containing a few references to Jane Austen herself, her works,the terrific value of collectible items of hers nowadays, and a bit of dialogue (including advice for our heroine) from Miss Austen herself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting time-travel Regency 6 May 2009
By Helen Hancox TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What would Jane Austen do? Do I actually care? She's hardly a great prophet, leader or guru; she's an excellent novelist who died relatively young nearly two hundred years ago.

However the author Laurie Brown seems to think Jane Austen's guidance is worthwhile and the theme 'What would Jane Austen do' runs through the book. In this story our heroine, Eleanor Pottinger, a Jane Austen fan, finds herself thrust back in time by two ghosts to try to prevent a duel after a seduction. Eleanor looks like their cousin, a woman who had been living in America, and Eleanor of course knows a great deal about the Regency time - she's a Regency costume maker, for example - so manages to fit in fairly well.

She finds herself at a house party where the young women, eventually to become the two ghosts, look after Eleanor but show their youth in their rather carefree manners - Eleanor can see how one of them was seduced. She knows the seducer, too - Lord Shermont, a rather mysterious but very handsome man who is part of the house party. We also follow events from Shermont's point of view and the reader learns that he works for the government and is on the track of a Napoleonic spy who also has an accomplice - who might just be Eleanor.

Eleanor occasionally repeats the refrain "What would Jane Austen do?" when trying to overcome a problem in her situation; she gets the chance to meet the author in person, although this is a fairly minor part of the story; most of the action is Eleanor trying to keep the two young women out of mischief, coping with life in the Regency and being attracted to Shermont.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Regency Romance with a Modern Flair 25 April 2009
By Burton Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Welcome to Regency England, Eleanor.. our heroine is having a bad day (despite the 12-pack on the cover) when she meets up with some ghosts during her stay at a hotel for a Jane Austen Conference. Sure, as a costume designer she wanted to learn all about the costumes and nuances of Jane Austen's England but she had no idea that she was going to wake up in 1814 and be left to fend for herself while on a mission sent from two (ghosts!) sisters who need her help. Eleanor tries not to stick out like a sore thumb as she is socializing with Dierdre and Mina whom she had first met as ghosts. Their brother Teddy had died, and it is Eleanor who is sent to prevent his duel with Lord Shermont, who is an agent for the crown investigating Napoleon's spies. Somehow in the middle of the romance and trying to conform to the mannerisms Eleanor needs to change history so that she can return to the present.

As luck would have it, Eleanor learns that she is being courted by Teddy, yet she immediately senses a strong attraction to the mysterious Lord Shermont, as of course all the ladies have.
Eleanor seems to enjoy herself in this fluffy romance and gets to meet Jane Austen and socializes with ladies and gents of the Regency Era.

I enjoyed discovering Regency England through Eleanor's eyes; it was written with a Regency flair with not a lot of major events until the novel picked up the pace towards the end with an unexpected twist which was fortuitous. There was a nice wrap-up at the ending, although a bit contrived and roses and rainbows.. but I was glad that we learn the outcomes of the supporting characters. If you are looking for something new specifically on Jane Austen, this is not it although she is referred to numerous times. The Napoleon intrigue was not very developed, if it had been, it may have been a little less confusing and made me more interested in that historical aspect. The book gives the impression of having glazed over its topics for the sake of expediency. This is specifically about what Eleanor does during her time travel experience and how the ghost sisters wind up. The character of Eleanor is not very dimensional as she was strictly focused on her mission. So if you are ready for more of a no-brainer chick-lit romantic beach read without any major expectations, this is it for you. The author did her research as far as inventions and the types of things that Eleanor missed, such as medicine, bathing and the bathroom necessities of our day. The time travel aspect is a fun idea, and the costumes, dances and supporting characters helped round this book out. Perfect for a summer weekend read while watching the kids play!

The author, Laurie Brown, was once asked "If time travel were possible, would you go and whom would you want to meet?" and voila... we have this book, which is not her first time travel book. Mrs. Brown has cleverly blended time travel and historical romance in her second novel. This is full of romance, a hunky guy, and even some Jane Austen to boot, which I think Regency romance fans would enjoy.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever title that delivers a fun and frothy summer read 26 May 2009
By Laurel Ann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Heroine Eleanor Pottinger is a costume designer from Los Angeles who arrives in Hampshire, England for Regency Week jetlagged and downtrodden after being unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend. She has booked her accommodations at Twixton Manor Inn, an eighteenth-century grand manor house converted into a hotel whose staff has lost her reservation and must put her up in the only room left available - the haunted one that they never use. Undaunted, Eleanor just wants sleep and does not care if she shares it with anyone, spectral or otherwise. When the two ghostly sisters Mina and Deirdre materialize to haunt her, she strikes a bargain with them to travel back to Regency times to thwart a deadly duel that kills their brother Teddy if they will in turn introduce her to their neighbor, her favorite author Jane Austen. Eleanor awakens in 1814 to meet the sisters and their family living at Twixton Manor with a house full of guests including hunky rake Lord Shermont, an agent for the crown who is secretly hunting for a Napoleonic spy among them. Eleanor quickly becomes his chief suspect. Motivated to meet Jane Austen, Eleanor engages in a week of social activities to discover which of the sister's honor will be compromised provoking Teddy into duel with Shermont. Somehow she must figure out how to alter history and avert the deed and save his life. As a twenty-first century woman, Eleanor struggles with the Regency lifestyle and often asks herself "what would Jane Austen do?" in the same situation which works beautifully until romance gets in the way as she is courted by Teddy and the known womanizer Lord Shermont. Questioning their motives may be the key to her unraveling the mystery and discovering if she has fallen in love with a spy or an Austen-esque hero.

Author Laurie Brown has pulled together elements of several genres - historical romance, spy thriller, time travel, and Jane Austen - in an ambitious endeavour. The plot moved very quickly and was evenly paced. Contrary to scandalous rumor, I do enjoy historical romance novels, which What Would Jane Austen Do? would qualify. I have two requirements in my romance reading that this novel satisfied; -- that the characters are believable and the plot has substance. I enjoyed traveling back in time with Eleanor, meeting Lord Shermont and of course encountering Jane Austen. Who wouldn't? Brown obviously researched her Regency history and has read Austen's novels quoting characters and scenes (though I must correct her reference to Knightley criticizing Emma Woodhouse after the picnic at Boxhill where she had treated Jane so badly! It was Miss Bates who was abused not Jane Fairfax.). Taken as a fun and frothy summer read, I have very few quibbles. However, when an author chooses to use Jane Austen or her characters that ups the ante in my book, and the standards are raised. Unfortunately, the opportunity to distinguish the present and the past with language nuances was missed as modern words such as Tarzan, yummy, omigod leaked in to the Regency world, and misnomers such as Arabian thoroughbred was used to describe Lord Shermont's horse. Additionally, at times I would like to have rested and discovered more about characters and their motivations, which was Austen's forte. In the end, I knew very little about the heroine and hero's inner thinking and felt the plot skipped past moments to elaborate and reflect just a bit more. The author did however supply the requisite Austen-esque heroine transformation and happily-ever-after ending, which Jane would have chosen to wrap-up more swiftly with far less effusion. In the end, was I entrapped by Jane Austen's name into reading this novel? You betcha! Do I have any regrets? Like Austen's character Emma Woodhouse, in this instance "I would much rather have been merry than wise."

Laurel Ann, Austenprose
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read with a new twist 27 April 2009
By A. Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I just finished What Would Jane Austen Do. It was a fun read with a new twist on time travel. If you want pure entertainment for a few hours this is the book for you. I particularly liked how the author wrapped up all the loose ends at the end. The story conclusions made sense and didn't feel artificial. I will be looking for more of Laurie Brown's books to enjoy.
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars cheap romance novel trying to elevate itself by name dropping 29 May 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a pretentious and cheap romance novel trying to elevate its stature by connecting itself very loosely to Jane Austen. Anyone who has seen any movie set in the Regency era could have written this story. There was no research or relevancy to Jane Austen herself. She would be embarrassed to have her name connected to such a story. While the overall plot was actually very clever, the heroine is only a crass immoral modern girl with none of the wit, elegance, or depth of a Jane Austen character. This is a huge disappointment to lovers of the elegant, chaste, romantic characters of Austen fame. The sex is graphic and lustful. The use of foul language throughout distracts from the story.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars whimsical time travel romance 4 May 2009
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Recently dumped by her cheating fiance, Eleanor Pottinger is an expert on Regency aristocratic fashion. She is currently working as a designer for a Jane Austen festival during Regency Week. However, she is bit taken aback to find her room at the old inn is preoccupied.

Nonplussed Eleanor meets the ghosts of sisters Mina and Deirdre Cracklebury. The trio negotiates a deal in which Eleanor will go back to 1814 to prevent a deadly duel between their brother Teddy and Lord Shermont in exchange to them introducing her to Jane Austen. As she and Shermont flirt outrageously with one another, Eleanor must decide between sense and sensibility; she needs to choose either the active sex of a lifetime or a passive meeting with a writer even as she considers WHAT WOULD JANE AUSTEN DO?.

Though Jane is a minor player, Eleanor and Shermont are wonderful leads and the ghostly sisters great support as Laurie Brown provides a whimsical time travel romance. The story line is fast-paced and filled with twists. This is Eleanor's tale as she tries to make the right choices considers her mantra: WHAT WOULD JANE AUSTEN DO? In this situation.

Harriet Klausner
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