If you were an author how would you feel about being asked to complete a previously unknown and newly discovered Jane Austen manuscript? Georgina Jackson - an American academic living in London - is asked to do just that in three months. She has previously had a prize winning literary novel published and has been selected by her fearsome agent, Livia, as the ideal author to complete the book.
But there is one problem that Gina can see straight away - she has never read any of Jane Austen's novels and has no intention of doing so. Her particular historical period is the late nineteenth century and she prefers misery and hardship to romantic comedy. But Gina needs money otherwise she will have to return to America so she signs the contract and then spends longer than she should putting off the unwelcome task. Her landlord - banker turned student, Henry, and his sister Maud who has run away from her boarding school - try to help Gina with all sorts of strategies.
Fans of Jane Austen spin offs will love this book. Those who have yet to read Jane Austen can read it just for the story. Writers can read it for the excellent description of writer's block. Anyone who wants a feel good story with a literary background will also enjoy it. I read it in a day and loved it. The characters are believable and there's the extra interest of spotting people and names from Austen's novels especially when Gina starts thinking she is seeing flashes from the past. I loved the section set in Bath with its examples of fanatical Janeites. I thoroughly recommend this book but most especially to those who have read Elizabeth Aston's previous `Pride and Prejudice' sequels.
Georgina Jackson has forty-eight chapters written for her sophomore novel, except they're all Chapter One. She simply can't move forward. When her agent rings and demands a meeting, she knows there's going to be sharp words exchanged.
Instead, Georgina's in for a shock. She's being offered the role of a lifetime, an opportunity most authors would kill to achieve. Someone recently discovered a never-before-seen chapter of a Jane Austen novel. It's been authenticated and her agent demands that Georgina finish the book.
Georgina knows nothing about Jane Austen and she has no desire to start learning. However, the advance would be substantial, and when Georgina discovers that the monies might be her only chance at remaining in England, she agrees to write the book in twelve weeks.
First, she must learn about Jane Austen, and then she must come up with an idea, and transfer that idea into a manuscript. Georgina's certain she's doomed to fail, but with her landlord, Henry, his sister, Maud, and flatmate, Anna, propping her up, she just might be able to accomplish the impossible.
Elizabeth Aston writes an amusing tale about the discovery of Jane Austen after avoiding the author like the plague. She humorously focuses on the pains of writing, including the need for many breaks, procrastination techniques, and how to duck phone calls and dodge unwanted visitors. She details the joys and annoyances of friendships and adds a dash of romance to this entertaining read.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel