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Jane, Actually: or Jane Austen's Book Tour Paperback – June 5, 2013
About the Author
Jane, Actually is Jennifer Petkus’s third book. Previously she wrote Good Cop, Dead Cop (the first book about the AfterNet) and My Particular Friend (a Sherlock Holmes/Jane Austen mashup). Once she stops writing in the third person and publishes this book, she’ll return to the task of writing The Background Noise of Souls (the sequel to her first book) and Our Mutual Friends (the sequel to her second book). Ms Petkus is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Doctor Watson’s Neglected Patients, The Wodehouse Society and Rocky Mountain Ki Society (she has a first-degree black belt in aikido but refuses to test for second degree because she’s old). She has been a reporter and a web designer but can now be best described as an unsuccessful author. Her friends derisively call her a kept woman. She is happily married. She watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon live. She likes to make furniture and scale models, but is not very good at either.
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Top customer reviews
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As in all the reviews (many with the author's comment following), I liked the premise. Although it took from the last of March till the first of June to finish it--living got in the way--it was easy to pick back up after nearly two months. The fun part was the ending. Unlike Austen's endings which leave us at the declarations of love (as vague as they may be) or leaving the church after the marriage, the author actually made--MADE Jane and Albert declare their love IN WORDS on the page. That was a sweet push for the modern reader, no matter how uncomfortable it made Jane. I'll recommend it and share it with friends. But please, Ms Petkus, in the sequel, please, please, no zombies, werewolves or their ilk. I definitely WON'T read that/those. Too old............
We are treated to wonderful realistic characters from Mary Crawford, the Ohioan actress who never read any of Miss Austen's works, the stressed out agent, the nutty professor who wants to debunk Jane's claim and the Conference leaders who are suddenly confronted with a real idol. Oh and then there is Jane's refusal to write a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. She does complete and publish Sanditon.
This is a book where I wanted to get to the end for everything to turn out right (like a Jane Austen ending) but I didn't want the book to end because it was that good.
- Wish #1 - Jane Austen can communicate with us! An invention call the Afternet (similar to Internet) allows the dead (or disembodied, as they prefer to be called) to communicate with the living.
- Wish #2 - A new release by Miss Jane Austen! First thing Jane does when she is able to communicate with the world is finish her fragment of Sanditon and seek a publisher! (Thank you, Jane!)
- Wish #3 - Jane becomes a part of the Jane Austen community! She goes on a national book tour, reads blogs, and attends both the Jane Austen Festival in Bath and the JASNA Annual General Meeting in Fort Worth, Texas! (Could you imagine?!?)
Sounds like enormous fun, doesn't it? Well...it most definitely is!
I must admit I had the BEST time reading this novel! This is probably because it is about OUR world - the Jane Austen community - and pretty much the most exciting thing that could ever happen to it! I loved how many different areas of the Jane Austen community were featured in this novel - from scholars to bloggers, from various JASNA chapters to brick-and-mortar booksellers. It was especially fun to recognize some well-known blogs that I frequent, hear mention of famous scholars and actors, and read some excerpts from Jane Austen's Sanditon.
I greatly enjoyed all the characters in this novel, especially Jennifer Petkus's portrayal of Jane Austen. Of course she was quick-witted, intelligent, and spirited, but what I liked seeing was her very human emotions and mistakes (even after 200 years of observing the world!) feeling anxiety about her new release, experiencing guilt and remorse for practicing a terrible deception, and showing a pig-headed stubbornness that rivals many of her characters! I loved that Jane Austen had an online "pen-pal" (Albert Ridings) she was communicating with for a couple of years. There is a very sweet relationship between Jane Austen and Albert (who is also disembodied). I enjoyed seeing Jane experience the same relationship pitfalls we all do - keeping secrets about yourself, feeling insecure, not wanting to admit you were wrong...lol!
Another element that I really enjoyed in this story was all the digital communications and multimedia prose. I loved reading the instant messages and emails the characters were sending each other, as well as the articles, newspaper tidbits, and various blogposts! In addition, I found the footnotes and introductory notes to be very helpful, informative, and entertaining!
This story is incredibly well-crafted and originative! It is abundantly clear that a lot of thought, research, and creativity went into the conception and execution of this novel. I may have wanted an teensy bit more resolution (maybe there will a sequel one day?), but overall, I found Jane, Actually to be a splendidly diverting and engaging Janeite love-fest that I didn't want to see end!
Note: While this novel does have elements of science-fiction/paranormal in it (advanced technology, the ability to communicate with the dead), it doesn't travel far into the futuristic unknown. There are no space journeys to galaxies far away, droids, or Klingons. :)