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Deja vu - Lost in Austen and now this,
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This review is from: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (Paperback)A parcel of books from Amazon arrived the other day and inside it was a a paperback published in the USA, which I had totally forgotten ordering some time ago called Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. I can only assume the title struck a chord as I know nothing else about it.
I open it up and what do I find? Courtney goes to sleep one night and wakes up to find she is inhabiting another body - one Jane Mansfield and has been transported back in time. Having just watched the first episode on TV this week of Lost in Austen, I felt a strong sense of deja vu. In the TV series, the time travelling heroine is Amanda Price - distressing lack or originality with the names; perhaps we could have had Emma Wentworth or Marianne Fairfax, or have Fanny and add the name of one of the maids at Longbourn - Hill. Fanny Hill, er perhaps not....
So which came first I ask myself, this book or the TV series or did reading this book give somebody the idea? The heroine here lives in Los Angeles, in Lost in Austen in Hammersmith. Only thing they have in common is that they both come from a big, sprawling, noisy, urban background and are transported back into Austen land, the land of country houses, embroidery and walking in the shrubbery.
The whole book is a bit of a hoot and enormous fun and while it is not going to set the world alight it is hugely entertaining and I can recommend it as a relaxing read and one which will not upset Jane purists (I consider myself one but after reading this and watching and liking Lost in Austen, I fear I have been guilty of presumption).
The heroine, Courtney, is a bit of a loser when it comes to men back in her own time and Los Angeles, having discovered her fiance playing away just before they are due to marry (he rather fancies the lady making their cake and is caught displaying more interest than is healthy in her royal icing) and is suffering from low self esteem and locked in the Bridget Jones Why Can't I find a Man syndrome? Seems to me that this kind of heroine seems to turn to Jane Austen and yearns after Darcy and Courtney is no different.
At first totally amazed and frightened to find there is no waking up from her dream she decides to make the best of it. Her father, a Mr Bennett figure married to a Mrs Bennett figure (only she is ghastly and malevolent, not just silly) is fond of her and as Courtney has never known her father, she begins to feel affection and love for him. She is being pursued by Mr Edgworth (no relation to Maria we are informed) but hears that he is a bit of a libertine and is frightened to become involved in another dead end relationship.
There is an amusing episode in the book when she hears a 'Miss Austen' being served in a shop in Milsom Street and races after her to tell her 'I love your books and am a big fan' and starts to chat to her about Mansfield Park which has yet to be published. Courtney then goes on to tell her that in 200 years time here books will be universally popular, scholars will discuss her plots and style and that there will be film and TV adaptations of her books and so on. Of course, Jane Austen thinks she is dealing with a mad woman and hastens away as quickly as possible. A conceit, but very funny.
It all ends happily, if improbably, with Courtney deciding to stop being a wimp and to take control of her life and marry the man of her choice. But where does she find her happiness? Longbourn or LA?
You will have to read the book to find out. Great fun.