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The Family Fortune: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, February 27, 2007

3.7 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Based loosely on Jane Austen's Persuasion, Horowitz's cheeky, uneven debut novel follows Jane Fortune, a Bostonian with a romantic crisis. The 38-year-old founder and editor of a prominent literary journal, Euphemia Review, Jane pines for true love while devouring novels and dealing with the financial woes of her once wealthy family, which force them out of their Beacon Hill home. When an enigmatic writer named Jack Reilly submits a brilliant story to a Euphemia contest, Jane is intrigued; when she learns that he lives off the grid, she becomes infatuated and tries to track him down. But Jane still carries a torch for her first love, Max Wellman, a successful novelist who got his start in Euphemia. Jane's narrative voice is natural and lively, but the plot unfolds in fits, careening between Jane's romantic adventures and the Fortune family foibles. Horowitz captures her "lifestyles of the rich and literary" milieu, but otherwise her Austen tribute is transparent and unnecessary; for all the highbrow window dressing, this is pure chick lit, featuring characters with the depth of a teacup and a "girl loses boy, girl finds boy" plot. Horowitz continues the tradition ably, promising plenty as soon as she ditches the lit-crit posturing and embraces her inner Lauren Weisberger. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Lively characters populate this mildly amusing modern take on Jane Austen's Persuasion. The nineteenth-century classic revolves around wealthy Anne Elliot, who is persuaded by her mother's best friend to break off her relationship with dashing but poor Captain Wentworth. In Horowitz's debut, sensible but suggestible Jane Fortune ("I live under the cloud of being Miss Fortune, though I prefer Ms.") splits with writer Max Wellman, the recipient of a fellowship sponsored by her family's foundation. Max soon becomes successful, while Jane endures her fate as a single professional woman surrounded by the vapid and vacuous denizens of upper-crust Boston. (When members of the Fortune family find themselves in dire financial straits, they must rent out their Beacon Hill mansion and winter in Palm Beach--poor souls!) Among the novel's snooty cast: Jane's younger sister, Winnie, a whiny, unhappily married hypochondriac, and Priscilla, the high-society divorcee who serves as catalyst for Jane's romantic demise. While frothy and fun, The Family Fortune is a far cry from the astute social commentary of the original Miss Jane. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 295 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060875275
  • ASIN: B0046LUD3S
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,317,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel. So when I read the description of this book I was excited to read a modern day version of it. I loved it up to the point of Jane and Guy's tryst. And that's where it dropped from 4 to one star. I'm not a prude, but really, that was WAY more info than I needed. We didn't need to hear the disgusting details. I skipped those pages because I don't need that kind of graphic detail, but it made Jane drop in my estimation. A strong woman, like Jane had become, would NEVER have gotten into the situation in the first place. A good writer, in my opinion sets up the scene and if it is well done, the reader can know, without the play by play, of how it turned out. For example, in Pride and Prejudice, when Lydia runs off with Wickham, the reader knows what went on and Austen didn't have to include the details. We knew what they were up to by the reaction of the family and friends as to the seriousness of Lydia's discretion. Again, I know morals are different today than in Austen's day but we still don't need so much garbage detail to know what went on. The readers have a brain and I think authors don't think we do. Anyway, although I felt the setting in modern day was very well done, I would be embarrassed if anyone read this book on my recommendation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a contemporary version of my favorite novel, Jane Austen's Persuasion, and although that would seem to raise the stakes for it quite high, I nonetheless found it a charming read. (Full disclosure: the author, Laurie Horowitz, was a friend in college, although I discovered a few years ago -- also full disclosure - that she doesn't remember me in the slightest!) She has done a fine job of updating the particulars to a plausible contemporary American setting, translating Anne Eliot's titled English family into an old Boston family, and giving the heroine (here called Jane Fortune) a love interest who is a rich and moderately famous author instead of a rich and moderately famous sea captain. Just about every character and plot development in the original has its update here, some quite ingenious. To my mind she has improved the heroine for today by giving her a serious profession of her own - managing a literary foundation, which has allowed what is clearly the author's own passion for literature and experience as an agent to inform the book quite nicely. She's also given her heroine a snarky first-person point of view that may make Jane more entertaining in some ways but also makes this book feel a bit more like chick lit that will fade away as its topical references age. My favorite parts of the book are a couple of truly taut conversations between the hero and heroine that Jane Austen never wrote herself, powerful enough that I'd be happy to read another love story from this writer. The least successful aspect is her take on young Mr. Eliot, the too-aptly named Guy Callow, and the one explicit scene in the book, which sticks out like a giant, protruding ... well, never mind. On the whole, however, I would recommend this book to Jane-ites and anyone looking for a pleasant comic romance.
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Format: Paperback
I gave this book 4 stars, but in my mind, it is the perfect example of 3 and 1/2 stars. The book is a quick read, and the story is light and funny. At times, however, the characters act too much like cariactures of themselves, the situations are too trite, the comments a bit too cliche. Nevertheless, I don't think the reader is supposed to take this book for more than what it is--an enjoyable, fun book with some stabs at social conventions which would bring a small grin to a contemporary Jane Austen.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I know Pride and Prejudice updates are the most popular....but give this modern version of Persuasion a chance, you won't regret it. A fun read. This version tells the story of an "old money" Bostonian family and the daughter who turned down true love. Years later they meet, he is a famous writer and she edits a literary review journal. Yes, we all know the outcome, but I promise, you will enjoy the read.
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Format: Hardcover
At first, The Family Fortune seems a little stifled...a Brahmin family who's never worked, a 38-year-old protagonist who lives with her father, and an overwhelming atmosphere of ennui. By Chapter 3, though, conflict has set in: due to sloppy money management, the family fortune is dwindled, and Jane Fortune and her family are forced to live elsewhere, giving up their old-money Beacon Hill haunt for rent.

It took me a little while to warm to this novel...it seemed impossibly stuffy at first...and then it really sunk its teeth in. Jane Fortune is an endearing and considerate heroine, once you get to know her a bit; and there's a page-turning romance...will she or won't she get together with the guy she jilted years before? He's now a famous author and modelizer, young women are throwing themselves at him, and Jane is not getting any younger or trendier.

This book has a whiff of the Old World about it, a kind of European charm, that seems aloof at first but rapidly becomes warm and cozy. It's not quite like Austen...Austen's heroines were more often poor than rich...but it's an illuminating look at a way of life that many people have never experienced, and the romance is satisfying.
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