Monday, May 31, 2021

Jane in Love - Rachel Givney

Summary:  Bath, England, 1803.  At twenty-eight, Jane Austen prefers walking and reading to balls; she also dreams of someday publishing her carefully crafted stories.  Above all, she wants love.  In grave danger of becoming a spinster, Jane goes searching for a radical solution -- and by accident, time-travels.  She lands in...

Bath, England, Present day.  The film set of Northanger Abbey.  As Jane acquaints herself with the horseless carriages and shocking fashions of the twenty-first century, she also discovers she's now a published author.  A famous one.  She befriends Sofia Wentworth, a fading Hollywood actress starring in the new period film, who offers to help Jane return to her own time.  Then Jane meets Fred, Sofia's brother, who has the audacity to be handsome, clever, and kindhearted....

But when Jane starts falling in love with Fred, disaster strikes.  All her books begin disappearing from the shelves.  Jane realizes that the longer she remains in the twenty-first century, the more she will erase herself from history.  Jane must decide:  Is a chance at love worth staying lost in time?

(Summary from back of book - Image from lacountylibrary.overdrive.com)

My Review:  Jane Austen is utterly unweddable.  At least, that's what the entire ton seems to think about the twenty-eight year old almost-spinster, an avid reader, inclined to long walks and feverish bouts of writing.  When her last chance at marriage falls through, Jane makes a rash decision that catapults her into the future in search of love.  There, amidst the hustle and bustle of contemporary London, she meets Sofia Wentworth, a famous actress, and her brother Fred.  The former is skeptical, but for her own reasons promises to help Jane return to her own time.  The latter is incredibly rude...and handsome.  Hijinks ensue as Jane learns to navigate the marvelous world of electricity, trousers, public transit, and modern courtship -- a world where, apparently, she is a highly-esteemed author. 

I truly enjoyed this part of the book.   Jane is a fun character who is both witty and bewildered, shocked and awed, by modern day living.  Her exploration of the future was adorable, amusing, and all the fun things. I also loved being able to follow along as she realized her writing had finally been appreciated.  Haven't we always wanted that for dear Jane?!  Her chemistry with Fred wasn't all-hands-on-deck amazing, but it was enough to set me to 'shipping' the two of them right away.  Sofia also had her own story that could have been a book all on it's own. Overall, the tone of the book was fairly light-hearted and entertaining.

Until.....

...Jane's books start disappearing.  As six becomes five, and five becomes four, Jane is torn between staying for love or returning home to spinsterhood and the quill.  I won't say what happened, but I will say that the book took on an increasingly somber and depressing tone that wasn't really in keeping with the rest of the book.  Long story short (and spoiler free), I was unsatisfied by the ending.  I can see why it ended the way it did.  I just didn't like it.   

On a positive note, however, I will say that I loved the various nods to Austen and her history woven throughout the book.  Austen-lovers will appreciate them.

That's it.  

End of review.

Move right along...

...Unless you'd like specifics... 

SPOILERS AHEAD 

...you have been warned.

The shtick that undoubtedly drove this book's sales is Jane finally finding the true love she missed out on in real life.  At least, that's why I picked up this book, hoping she would find her happily ever after.. I mean she deserves it, am I right?!   She deserves a husband who adores her wit and is proud of her talents!  I did not pick up this book so that she could leave her newfound love behind and return to the past, to live pretty much the same life as before.   I know there are a million reasons why the story probably should have ended exactly the way it did, but that didn't stop me from being sad when Jane made her choice. I mean, what fun is fiction if you can't send Jane back to her own time to revolutionize writing (and have her man come too?!).  I understood the value of a woman choosing to use her talents, rather than give them up for a man and yes, her books are saved (hurrah!), but I wanted her to have both, dang it! 

END OF SPOILERS

My Rating: 3 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader:   The occasional innuendo and one use of the word 'arse.'  Jane sees Fred shirtless (a few times) and Fred sees Jane getting out of the shower (no descriptions, just awkwardness.).  One sexual situation (very un Austen-like, if you ask me) implied and with very little detail.  Jane has a conversation with a gay man about gay marriage.

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