Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Lies Jane Austen Told Me - Julie Wright

Summary: Ever since Emma Pierce read Pride and Prejudice, she's been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So when it turns out that what her boyfriend Blake wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious.  She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, only to find her job threatened when her boss brings in a consultant to help her expand the business on the East Coast.  Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake's younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother.  He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.  But as perfect as Lucas seems, he clearly has his secrets.  After all, there's an angry woman demanding money from him and a little girl who Lucas feels responsible for.

Realizing that her love life is a complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must figure out the truth -- and soon -- if she wants any hope of writing her own "happily ever after" ending.  (Summary from book - Image from amazon.com)

My ReviewLies Jane Austen Told Me is one of my teenage daughter's favorite books (alongside Harry Potter, Fablehaven, The Hunger Games, and The Secret Journal of Brett Colton).  She's been on me for a while to read it and now that I'm sitting smack in the middle of quarantine, I've run out of excuses.  I know that sounds dour, but there is a lot of pressure when your daughter is on you to LOVE something as much as she loves it.  I crossed my fingers and dove in.

Jane Austen is a horrific liar.  

Those are the opening words to Lies Jane Austen Told Me and I love them.  It was a great hook.  The main character, Emma, is a smart, successful marketing exec who misreads her boyfriend's weekend intentions and ends up single and stranded until some decidedly unwanted help arrives in the form of her now-ex's younger brother.  When that same younger brother ends up being Emma's newest coworker and competition, and her ex tries to win her back, Emma must come to terms with her feelings (whatever they may be) and get the job done.  I won't spoil things for you, but I imagine you can guess the story line from here on out.

Lies Jane Austen Told Me falls into the 'proper romance' genre which translates, in the book world, to a  romance novel that stays within PG parameters (basically, displays of affection are limited to  kissing and nothing else).  The chemistry between the characters was hit and miss, but it 'hit' when it really mattered, especially towards the end.  I enjoyed the little details in character backgrounds that made this story stand out from some of the more cardboard cutout romances.  Each chapter begins with a familiar Austen quote and there is also a moderately feminist thread that runs throughout that felt like a nod to women everywhere, but specifically to Austen herself.  It was a nice touch. 

From a critical perspective, I felt the plot lagged a little in the middle, but I did enjoy both the beginning and, most importantly, the end of the story.  There aren't a lot of plot twists in store, but I don't generally read books like this because I want a lot of surprises.  I wanted the happily-ever-after ending and that is exactly what I got.  I can definitely see why my daughter likes it so much and I do think Austen fans in search of a 'clean' romance will enjoy themselves.

My Rating: 3.75 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Several of the characters dealt with childhood abandonment and rocky home lives.  It isn't too descriptive but could be triggering.  Other than that -- all clear.

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