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The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After Hardcover – April 2, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After

“What a wonderful book! Elizabeth Kantor writes with immense sense and sensibility about how single young women in today’s confusing world can find happiness by applying the principles of Jane Austen. I feel certain that Jane Austen would appreciate this witty and authentic take on her work, unlike so many wrong-headed pop interpretations one gets these days. I am heartily recommending this delightful and original book even to my more mature friends who are no longer looking for a single young man. Lovely writing.”
—Charlotte Hays, senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum and bestselling co-author of Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral and Somebody Is Going to Die if Lilly Beth Doesn’t Catch That Bouquet: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Wedding

"A thorough analysis of love and dating through the eyes of Jane Austen, sure to spark discussions and provide a lot of food for thought. If you need a fresh perspective on love, start here."
—Lori Smith, author of A Walk with Jane Austen and The Jane Austen Guide to Life

“In The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After Elizabeth Kantor asks, ‘Can we have Jane Austen-style elegance, dignity, and happy love only at the cost of modern freedom and equality?’ The answer is yes if, like Austen’s heroines, we approach romance with a rational balance to sex and love and work hard on all our relationships, not just the romantic ones. The Guide is filled with information and advice gleaned from Jane Austen’s novels. Case studies of major male characters examine their commitment phobias, and close scrutiny of Jane’s clear-eyed heroines reveals how they get love exactly right. This book is packed with information that had me thinking about Jane Austen’s novels in a new light. One thing is for certain: The reader will gain a new perspective on how to approach modern romance from one of the world's most famous regency spinsters!”
—Vic Sanborn, author of the Jane Austen’s World and Jane Austen Today blogs

"Influenced by the master of love and romance, Elizabeth Kantor’s wise, witty, and insightful advice book should be added to Mr. Darcy’s reading list for any truly accomplished woman. It will transform you into the heroine of your own life.”
—Laurel Ann Nattress, author of “Austenprose — A Jane Austen Blog” and editor of Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart

"This book would have helped me avoid a few broken hearts for sure! Kantor teaches you how to guard your emotions in an independent, sophisticated, and empowered way through Jane Austen’s works. She offers timeless wisdom for the modern woman, and most importantly, encourages us to take our relationships seriously."

—Amy Bonaccorso, author of How to Get to "I Do"

About the Author

Elizabeth Kantor is author of The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to English and American Literature and an editor for Regnery Publishing. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.A. in philosophy from Catholic University of America. Kantor has taught English literature and written for publications ranging from National Review Online to the Boston Globe. An avid Jane Austen fan, she is happily married and lives with her husband and son in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (April 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596987847
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596987845
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Once I was old enough to read Austen's books as more than simple love stories, I was struck by how the heroines in her books always really thought about the character of the men they were interested in. In a time when marriage was pretty much forever, and character was assumed to be pretty fixed, any girl of any smarts would think long and hard about what a lifetime commitment to someone meant. Kantor has taken this observation to a deeper level and brought me to a much greater understanding of what Austen was trying to show us about how to achieve lasting happiness. When many studies show that choice of life partner is the most important determinant of happiness, thinking seriously about romantic love can not be assumed to be a shallow pursuit. This book if full of wonderful examples of behavior both good and bad, and how they can be applied in modern life. When reading Kantor's examination of the selfishness of Willoughby, who only thought of what would make things fun and not about what the other person in the romance might be feeling, I was reminded of a man my younger sister recently dated. He was full of whirlwind romance, lots of calls gifts, and flowers, etc. After they were dating two months, he arranged an elaborate, waiter assisted presentation of a diamond ring- but when my sister opened the ring, he told her it was a "friendship" ring. He broke up with her a week later, saying he realized he wasn't ready to get serious. Seriously!
My only problem with this book is that it should have been written 20 years ago! I could have avoided a lot of Willoughbys, Crawfords and Wickhams (and even a Mr. Collins, I'm sad to say). Luckily, I have my own happily ever after with a true Captain Wentworth, but I will definitely pass this book along to any woman looking on how to be a good judge of character and how to achieve happiness with a man they can love and esteem as much as any of Austen's best leading ladies.
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Format: Hardcover
In her book, The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After, Elizabeth Kantor asks the question, "Just what is it about Jane Austen that has us coming back year after year, decade after decade, making her by far the most famous female writer of her time. Why DO we read Jane Austen?" It's more than just wanting a good read or to be part of a perfect world, set apart in time. She theorizes that "We wish we could be Jane Austen heroines in our own lives, dealing with everything--especially men--with the sophistication and competence we admire in characters like Elizabeth Bennet. Women see something in Jane Austen that's missing from modern relationships, and we can't help wondering if there might be some way to have what we see there--without going back to empire waistlines, horse-drawn carriages, and the bad old days before the Married Women's Property Act."

My mother's favorite axiom is, "Your attitude is your choice". After researching all of Jane's work, using not only her six published novels, but also the fragments, Juvenilia and surviving letters, Kantor has come to a similar conclusion. Your happiness--or lack thereof, is the result of your own choices in life. Sure, we can be dealt situations less than idyllic--not everyone can be born a gentleman's daughter in Hertfordshire, but the first question she would have us ask of ourselves is whether or not we are acting in the pursuit of long term happiness. Not the "of course I want to be happy" kind of happiness, but the "Will this choice (boyfriend, relationship, marriage) contribute to long term, lasting happiness?" Here, she contrasts the life styles of Lydia Bennet, who lives for the thrill of the moment, and Elizabeth, who weighs her choices in light of the effect they will have on her future.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I only wish I knew more unmarried women to whom I could--tactfully--give this serious, thorough, and at the same time mightily entertaining book. Luckily, its audience need not be limited to those who are still seeking their "happily ever after." Any fan of Jane Austen (and those seem to constitute quite a crowd) or interested (perhaps discouraged) observer of the current social scene will find ample food for thought. You may even discover some new insights and keys to improving your own character! It all goes down with a spoonful of heartfelt and often amusing literary sugar--pop culture references, personal anecdote, and juicy, almost David-Foster-Wallace-level end notes. (That's a compliment, I hasten to add: don't you ever turn to the end notes and feel let down to see just bare citations?)

Although the course of my own love life ran pretty smoothly, I wish I had read the advice about pursuing rational happiness (instead of vague, "of course I want to be happy," hoping for happiness) when I was a teenager. And, having spent a lot of time in college beating myself up for my interest in relationships (including buying, reading, and feeling bad about a book called _Educated In Romance_) I would have been saved a lot of heartache and confusion had I read Kantor's clearly expressed assurance that human relationship IS the foundation of life happiness, and a natural preoccupation for a 20-year-old woman.

Finally, this book isn't just for women: it includes a lot of intriguing, nearly-forgotten, and _realistic_ insights about what constitutes good and wise behavior in a man as he relates to women. After all, happily ever after happens not just for Elizabeth Bennet, but also for Mr. Darcy.
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