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Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Laurie Viera Rigler
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 1 2009 Center Point Premier Romance (Large Print)
Courtney Stone - sassy, smart and suddenly single - has always felt she might have been better suited to life in Jane Austen's England. She senses that she would have found soul mates in Emma and Elinor, and through good times and bad S&S and P&P have been her secret under-the-duvet pleasures. One evening, having drifted off to sleep after self-medicating with pizza, Absolut, and Elizabeth and Darcy, Courtney wakes up in nineteenth-century England, in the bed (not to mention the slim and svelte body) of a girl called Jane Mansfield. At first she thinks this has to be some sort of weird dream, but slowly she becomes used to the absence of toothpaste and fat-free food, and finds herself actually enjoying Jane's life. Perhaps she could do without her wicked new 'mother' who wants to marry Jane off as soon as possible to the nearest wealthy man although this may not be such a bad thing, as the nearest wealthy man just happens to be the very dishy Charles Edgeworth. But, in becoming Jane, Courtney has left some important unfinished business behind, and she soon realises that in order to return to the present day she needs not only to solve the riddle of Jane and Charles but to get to grips with her own twenty-first-century relationship phobias along the way. A laugh-out-loud romp with a Regency heart, this delightful debut is a truly modern comedy of manners.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

Orlagh Cassidy is delightfully fun as Courtney Stone, a modern Los Angeles girl nursing a heartbreak who wakes up to find herself inhabiting the body and life of a Jane Austenesque Regency girl. Cassidy is spot-on with Courtney's California accent, modern-day moaning about men, self-analysis and doubt, and sarcasm—and then, without missing a beat, flips easily into the proper, upper-class English tones of Jane (the Regency girl Courtney has replaced, whose accent came with the body), her pompous, controlling mother, her desperate suitor and her sympathetic best friend. Orlagh's lively narration makes Courtney even more endearing and brings the colorful story to life. Fans of Austen, chick lit, and romantic comedies should definitely put this one on their listening list.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

Talk about an out-of-body experience. One moment Courtney Stone is a modern-day L.A. career woman lamenting a lost love; the next she is Jane Mansfield, a well-to-do, willowy (though not particularly buxom, unlike her twentieth-century namesake) lady in nineteenth-century England. What could account for this transplant of time and place? Courtney has no opportunity to ruminate over such matters; she must quickly learn to interact with inhabitants of the brave old world in which she finds herself. There's her mother, determined to marry 30-year-old Jane off to handsome Mr. Edgeworth; her artist father, more inclined to his daughter's free-spirited frame of mind; and faithful servant Miss Barnes, who helps her mistress manage everything from chaperones to corsets. (Thank goodness Jane has read Pride and Prejudice more than a dozen times.) It's not long before Jane finds the lines blurred between her two vastly different selves. Like her heroine, debut author Rigler boasts an obsession with the novels of Jane Austen. This frothy take on literary time travel will appeal most to readers well versed in the celebrated author's memorable characters and themes. Block, Allison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was... Ok... July 21 2008
Format:Paperback
Maybe I read to many fantasy novels and watched too many Sci-fi shows, but while this was a fun book with a great premise, I found the lack of details regarding the 'hows' of time travel disappointing. I'm not sure how Courtney ended up in Jane's body' Or what happened to Jane during that time ' especially since it was Jane who wished she was someone else. The final chapter didn't really wrap things up for me, and if anything, it left me with more questions.

It would have been great if we could see Jane's experiences during our time as well. And all that self-discovery about Wes ' where did that go? I just felt like I was left hanging'
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Aug. 7 2008
By ocelott
Format:Paperback
I'm fond of Jane Austen myself, and I was intrigued by the premise, an obsessive reader finding herself in that world. The story starts with a promising beginning, as Courtney wakes up to unfamiliar faces in the world she's dreamed about, only they're insisting she's sick and needs to let the doctor cut on her with his razor for awhile. The situation is well presented, with a comical twist, and I was able to simultaneously laugh at Courtney while sympathising with her.

Unfortunately, this is the best scene in the novel. A lot of the situations and characters Courtney comes across should have been familiar to someone who claims to have read Pride and Prejudice twenty times, but she's apparently either self-absorbed or thick-headed enough to have missed those parts of the stories. She's completely unaware that it's considered a big deal if people knock boots before they get married until the end of the book. I'm pretty sure even casual fans, whose impressions of Jane Austen's novels consist entirely of Colin Firth prancing around in ruffly collars picked up that little piece of history, so I'm not entirely sure what Courtney's problem is.

Actually, I take that back. Courtney has a lot of problems, not just one, and they add up to her being an unsympathetic character. She comes to the conclusion early on that she's caught in someone else's life, but she really doesn't care about the effect her actions might have on the person returning to that life, since she'll be back in her modern apartment by then. In fact, it's not until the end that she decides maybe she should consider how her actions affect other people, and she can't exactly claim ignorance when she's been expressly warned about the things she does before she does them. Then she makes the same mistakes over and over.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Confusions of a Jane Austen Addict April 13 2009
By Pandora
Format:Paperback
If anyone else out there is going to take on Jane Austen in another chick-lit format, here's a few thoughts from someone who loves Jane Austen's novels:

Don't do it! I beg you. For those who love Jane Austen, just keep rereading her novels and don't waste your time on poorly written stuff like this. I won't do it anymore. Paul Newman is famous for the comment (when talking about his wife Joanne Woodward) but it applies here, too, "Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?" If you've got Jane Austen on your bookshelves, why go out and buy something of a much poorer quality?

I see there is a sequel coming. Marketing another chick-lit book like this one -- where the characters are two dimensional, where the story is a limp and confused facsimile of Jane Austen's -- and the humour (and dialogue) is utterly clichéd and ham-fisted -- seems to be merely one more attempt to grab more cash using the name and work of a great writer.

As a time travel book, it is a confused mess, really. If she ties up all the dangling ends in the second book, I won't find out. I won't be buying it.

Jane Austen wrote, "My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company."

I am absolutely certain that, Jane Austen, even with her wry humour and understanding of human frailties would not, for one second, find this book good company.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Time travelling! March 8 2011
By Duchess
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have always loved reading historical stories written in the Victorian/Regency Era, and this story provides another look at what everyday life is like during those times. The adventures and stories make me feel like I've travelled back in time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  141 reviews
73 of 85 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 2 1/2 stars: not too dire Sept. 25 2007
By tregatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'll confess to being a Jane Austen fan -- I've read and reread her completed and incompleted works, her letters, read many of the Jane Austen pastiches (and will admit to really liking Stephanie Barron's & Carrie Bebris' Jane Austen mystery novels) and seen all the film realisations of her novels (but not "Becoming Jane Austen" -- one has to draw a line somewhere). I'll also confess to not having very high hopes about Laura Viera Rigler's "Confession of a Jane Austen Addict" -- after all this out-of-body/time travel plot motif is that has been utilised by quite a few Regency-era romance novelist before this, and might I add with better effect? But I did want to be proven wrong, and so checked the book out. And came to the conclusion that while "Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict" proved not to be as dire as I feared it would be, it was not quite the stellar read either.

Reeling from a broken engagement and the betrayal of her best friend, the last thing Courtney Stone expected was to wake up one morning and find herself in Regency England, trapped in another woman's (Miss Jane Mansfield) body. Shocked and concerned, Courtney desperately wants to return to her own life in L.A. but fate seems to have decreed that she remain in London for a while, leading Jane Mansfield's life. Can Courtney pull off this masquerade without anyone being the wiser? And what she should do about the real Jane's suitor, the dishy Mr. Edgeworth? Jane's masterful mother is determined that her daughter make a match of it with Mr. Edgeworth, but Jane seems to be strangely mistrustful of her very eligible and desirable suitor...

For me, the first part of the book unfolded quite smoothly and rather well. I thought that the author did quite a good job of portraying Courtney's love of Jane Austen's novels and of the pain she suffered when she realised how much both her fiance and her best friend had each betrayed her. Where things fell apart for me was when I realised that Courtney may have read and reread Miss Austen's novels a great many times but except for the storyline, very little else stuck in her consciousness. Courtney seemed to have very little understanding about the manners and habits of the Regency period -- she made the kind of mistakes that even the most casual of readers would have avoided. And I don't think I'm being unnecessarily harsh here.

The other thing I kept wondering about, instead of losing myself in this novel, was what was going on at the other end, in L.A, where presumably Jane was inhabiting Courtney's body and leading her life. I found myself really wanting to know at once what was going on. Especially since Wes, as a romantic lead seemed more interesting than Mr. Edgeworth. I also kept wondering why Jane was still unmarried at thirty, and if there was some kind of back story as to why her character seemed so sheltered and unformed. These questions were never fully answered and rather took over my enjoyment of the book, which was a bit of a shame.

I'd have rated "Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict" a 3 star read except for that fact that what was going on "off stage" proved more interesting than what was unfolding before my eyes. And for that reason, I'd rate this novel as a 2 1/2 star read, and suggest actually rereading the excellent Miss Austen if you feel a need for a Jane Austen fix.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and entertaining time-travel... March 16 2008
By CoffeeGurl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It is a truth, universally acknowledged that if you use Jane Austen's name or one of her beloved titles into your own work you are guaranteed a bestseller (or, at the very least, a book deal). The gimmick has been done to death. How many romances and chick-lit books have a variation of Jane Austen in its story or title? Helen Fielding did it with Bridget Jones's Diary, and I've lost count of the many, many so-called sequels or retellings of Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Sense & Sensibility and Persuasion. And so, I picked up Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict with a certain level of skepticism. Here we go again, I thought. Another wannabe Jane Austen. However, I was drawn to this novel for two reasons. The most obvious is, of course, Jane Austen (it appears that the aforementioned gimmick does work). The other reason is that I love time travel stories -- well written and thoroughly researched time travel stories, that is. More on that later.

Courtney Stone is a thirty-year-old L.A. woman who has had it with men after she catches her fiancé cheating on her with the wedding cake baker. Add insult to injury, Wes, a man she thought she could trust, had been covering Frank. But that becomes the least of her problems when Courtney wakes up in 1813 England, inhabiting the body of a country bumpkin by the name of Jane Mansfield (yes, Jane as in Jane Austen and Mansfield as in Mansfield Park). Courtney, a Jane Austen fanatic, cannot believe she has been transported into a body, a setting and a story not unlike Austen's memorable novels. Not only does she have to become accustomed to corsets, shapeless high-waist gowns, uncomfortable transportation, body odor and scarce baths, but she has to make sense of everything that goes on around her. She also has no idea what to make out of Mr. Edgeworth, Jane's most dashing suitor. Is he as besotted with her and charming as he seems, or is he nothing but a two-timing loser in a cravat?

The most interesting part about this novel is that it begins with Courtney waking up in Jane Mansfield's body. There is no ceremonial- or paranormal-like transporting thing going on like in most time-travel novels. I found that very refreshing. Another interesting thing is that Laurie Viera Rigler seems to be a big Jane Austen connoisseur. She doesn't presume to interpret Austen's work in her way; she simply goes with the flow and creates storylines and situations that resonate with Austen's stories and characters -- social commentary included. I like the parallels between Austen's views and Courtney's modern-day musings, proving that Austen was indeed a woman before her time. In short, this novel is well-researched. The author brings up the differences in customs, wardrobe and expressions without overdoing it. You won't get a history lesson here, but the author does take her time bringing the time period to life. I would have liked to see more of Courtney's world though. It appears that a sequel is in the works, and I hope that Rigler plans to cover more of that. Some things are unclear, but I won't discuss them here, for they are spoilers, and I'd like to get some answers regarding those loose ends in a future installment. There is one scene that puzzles me and it's the one with Mr. Every. Why on earth would a "gentleman" lure a well-bred lady to a private place and seduce her? Is he stupid? Would any man of rank risk ruining someone that way and in turn end up with a marriage he would not want? What a strange scene! There is also a scene in which Jane/Courtney discusses Jane Austen with another woman. Women were demure in those times, and they did not engage in "intelligent" conversations in such an outspoken way, especially in the presence of men. I found that scene to be kind of unbelievable. Anyway, I do like the somewhat vague diary entry at the end though. It makes you wonder who really wrote it. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict is a fun, entertaining, intelligent and at times thought provoking read. I couldn't put it down. I gotta say that using Jane Austen for this story was not a bad idea at all.
35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sure to Delight -- Strikes All the Right Notes Aug. 1 2007
By Anniina Jokinen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As a fan of Jane Austen who has, on occasion, been disappointed by Austen adaptations or re-imaginings, I approached this book with reservations. No-one can be more pleased than I am to say my skepticism proved undeserved. Here is a book that any lover of the books of Jane Austen is sure to relish and appreciate!

What would happen if a recently and multiply heart-broken modern-day woman, who has fallen asleep drinking vodka and reading Pride and Prejudice while mourning her broken engagement, were to wake up in Jane Austen's England? This is how the book begins. Courtney wakes up to find everyone calling her Jane Mansfield, doctors wishing to bleed ill humors out of her, and a marriage-obsessed mother threatening to put her into an asylum if she keeps insisting she is not, indeed, Jane. Courtney decides to play along convinced she'll soon wake up back in modern day Los Angeles, until she realizes perhaps it isn't a dream after all.

The reader gets to experience the early nineteenth-century English countryside, Bath, and London through eyes at once modern and Austenian. Throw in a bit of pride, a bit of prejudice, and a host of characters, plots, and subplots, and it all melds into a wonderful kaleidoscope of Austen.

The story is so deftly plotted, simultaneously familiar and new, the characters so likeable (and dislikeable), the prose so fluid and fresh, that the book goes by in a flash. Austen's words and world are ever-present, without weighing the story down. Laurie Viera Rigler has accomplished a marvel--a delicately-mastered fusion of the beloved and known with the sure-to-be-loved, not-yet-known.

I meant to read a few chapters before bed and ended up foregoing sleep, staying up all night, to read the book in one sitting. Whether you are a die-hard "Austen addict" or just discovering Austen's world, this book is sure to delight.
31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rambling, Tedious and Ultimately Pointless Nov. 5 2007
By MarciaK - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As a Jane Austen addict, I had great hopes for this novel, but what a mess. I don't need to outline the plot, since others have done a fine job of that.

First: Courtney/Jane is, supposedly, the Jane Austen addict of the title, and has read all the Austen books hundreds of times. But how can anyone who has read even one Jane Austen novel fail to grasp that they are as much about social class as romance? Her surprise at all of the rules and behaviors required of a woman of her status is absurd. Of COURSE a young woman doesn't march around Bath without a chaperone. Of COURSE the upper classes don't mingle with their servants.

Second, there's her endless, futile "How did I get here?/How can I get home?" angst. Page after page after page of this. She says she will just live in the moment, only to go back to this pointless speculation two pages later... Back and forth, again and again. I nearly threw the book in frustration after the fortune teller visit: she risks everything to go to a fortune teller to ask her how to get back to her real life. After pages of silly mumbo jumbo, the fortune teller ultimately tells her to stop thinking so much. Finally! The answer to her dilemma: just live the experience. But then a few pages later, she's back agonizing over the "hows" again, worrying that she's possessed. *What was the point?!?*

Third, and finally, the storyline of the entire London visit makes no sense, from the creepy aunt to the party to C/J's outrageous behavior. Every moment of the London party is an insult to the reader. But the most egregious incident has to be C/J's inexcusably idiotic conduct involving a woman she sees leaving a shop.

The only explanation I have for this rambling, tedious and ultimately pointless book is that Laurie Viera Rigler was trying to create C/J in the image of the funny, charming Austen addict Bridget Jones, but instead of reading the book, she must have seen the movie; this character had all the strident, moronic, self-absorbed qualities of the cinematic Bridget and none of the wit we loved so much in the book.

Such a waste. If the Jane Austen addict had immersed herself in Austen's world and shared sharp, amusing 21st century observations about society, living conditions and relationships in the early 19th century, it would have been a good read... a fun twist on a modern-day Austen novel.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this!!! Aug. 14 2007
By Rosemary43 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I usually approach any Austen off shoot with much trepidation. It isn't Dear Jane (but then again, who is?) but I was absorbed enough by the storytelling to read the entire book in one sitting. Well done!
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