Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"What I'm Reading" Wednesday #7

        This week I've let myself get swept away into the world of Jane Austen Themed novels...

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
When Jane Mansfield, a gentleman's daughter from Regency England, awakens one morning in twenty-first-century L.A -- in the body of someone named Courtney Stone -- culture shock and chaos ensue. 

Jane must quickly find her way in a world in which everyone thinks she is Courtney: a dizzying world of horseless carriages, unrestricted clothing, and unheard-of liberties for womankind. And then there are all those people talking to the air while holding a small object against their ears. 

The only thing that is familiar -- and the only thing Jane has in common with the woman in whose life she has landed -- is a love for the novels of Jane Austen. But will the wise words of her favorite novelist be enough to guide her through this bewildering new world? And what is she to make of Courtney's attentive friend Wes, who is as attractive and confusing as the man who broke her heart back home? As Courtney's romantic entanglements become her own, Jane wonders: Would she actually be better off back in Regency England -- and will she ever be able to return?

Why I Chose This Book:
I have to confess, I've read this book before. In fact, I read it before I read the first book in the duology, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. My love for Jane Austen attracted me to this book the first time I saw it on the shelf at the local library. I hadn't heard of the author before and was skeptical after trying and failing to read other books written with the Austen theme, but I really enjoyed this the first time and I was drawn to reread it after finally reading Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (more on that later). This is the hilarious story of a 19th Century woman who wakes up in the body of a modern day woman. I love how she has to learn how to use modern technology but the way she talks annoys me a bit... perhaps its just an Austen overload? Gasp! - there is so such thing as too much Austen. 
Who This book is for:
If you are a Jane Austen fan you will enjoy this book, as well as people who like classics with a twist. However, if you've never read anything by Jane Austen, hate the classics / Jane Austen's work, or that sort of thing I'd probably sit this one out. 

Here's are the other Jane Austen themed books I binged on since last week...

Austenland by Shannon Hale
Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man―perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?
What I Thought of This Book:
I read the book after I had already seen the movie starring Keri Russel. I know, I know.. you're sitting in front of your screen reading this and screaming "How could you! You never watch the movie first and then read the book!", but I did and that's that. Yes, the book is different than the movie, the book goes more into Jane's past failed relationships and instead of Jane being anxious to go, she's left the trip to Austenland in her Great-Aunt Carolyn's will. Overall I like both the book and the movie. Jane's experience in Austenland shows us than although living in Jane Austen's time sounds like a fantasy we'd all love to dive into it's not nearly as freeing as our lives as modern women. Kind of like the other book I read this week... 
My rating for Austenland: 5 of 5 Stars

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up to find herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck inside another woman's life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. For her borrowed body knows how to speak without slaying the King's English, dance without maiming her partner, and embroider as if possessed by actual domestic skill.

But not even Courtney's level of Austen mania has prepared her for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condom-less seducers, and marriages of convenience. Enter the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, a suitor who may turn out not to be a familiar species of philanderer after all.
What I Thought of This Book:
I liked this book even better than it's sequel, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. It's good to go back and see how Courtney fared in Jane's 19th Century world. We're introduced to Jane's social climbing mother, Mrs. Mansfield, who's not far from Mrs. Bennet herself in Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Mansfield, Jane's artistic father who paints in styles far beyond his time, Jane's faithful maid Barnes, her close friend Mary, and the charming man whom Jane wanted at all costs to get away from; Charles Edgeworth. But is Mr. Edgeworth really the cheater Jane thought him to be? Courtney is in for a wild ride in this cute novel, that reminds me a lot of Pride and Prejudice in a way. The only thing I didn't like was the ending... Courtney almost seems to blend into Jane and become her completely. Does that mean that Courtney ceases to exist? That Jane is present in both the past and the present? That doesn't seem at all fair to Courtney, our favourite Absolut-drinking-Jane-Austen-addict.
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

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