Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict Hardcover – Large Print, Dec 1 2009
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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.
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 alternate Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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'
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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