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Jane and Austen Kindle Edition
|Length: 364 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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First of all, when I began reading this and came upon all the names and places which are take-offs from Jane Austen’s six novels, my thought was, “This is too cutesy”. As there were so many I began to write them down. If you are reading this in kindle there is a glossary explaining the names and who they are taken from in canon after the end of the story. It is not easily accessible as you are reading. The glossary does not explain all the places. But if you are familiar with JA’s novels you can very easily make the connection, i.e., North Abbey/Northanger Abbey, Brightin Beach/Brighton, Kellynch Hotel, Lambton Marketplace, Lucas Lodge, Netherfield House, Norland Courtyard, Pemburkley Hall, Rosings House, etc. I did not find it hard to keep up with those. And some of the character’s shouted out with their behaviors just exactly upon whom they were based. After all, Colin Minster’s leeching onto Jane is just so “Mr. Collins”.
The author’s purpose was not immediately clear: however at about 60% of the way through the story the two protagonists have an AH HA moment when they put together all the names, their characteristics and their histories from canon. Although Jane is the ultimate romantic, her friend, Austen, (the owners’ son and an accountant) is very much a concrete thinker. He sees things in black and white while she sees the moon and the stars and is very much a mishmash of both Emma (the matchmaker) and Catherine Morland whose head is diverted by all the Gothic novels she has read. Austen does know the story of P&P as his previous girlfriend made him watch the 5-hour DVD. But he doesn’t buy Jane's theories…at first, and he also is sending so many mixed messages with body language and with verbal innuendos that one wonders when/if they are going to have their own “moment”. And then there are the women fawning over him: Junie and Anne Marie, to be specific. But at one point, DeBurgy, Dancey’s PR Manager, states that Jane is leading on five men on her own…Austen tries to determine who they are all.
We read this story from Jane’s POV. We know she has a crush on Austen but has “written him off” as he moves from his parents’ North Abbey Hotel, set on the beach in San Diego, to take a position in Boston. Jane’s mentor, Taylor Weston, the ultimate event planner, has trained Jane to take over as she has met her perfect guy, Chuck Bigley, through Em’s Matchmakers and is traveling to London to meet him. When she comes back for her perfect wedding she puts Jane is charge. And here Taylor turns into the Bridezilla of the year.
When the best man, Will Dancey, Rock Star, comes to town we read that Jane mistakes him for the parking valet they ordered when employee, Fred Tiney, seems to have disappeared. This becomes a comedy as she has him parking cars and telling him that this is what Taylor wants…he thinking of his friend, Taylor, and doing her a favor, while Jane is just explaining that this is what the boss wants. He warms to her as she is treating him as a normal guy while she is taken aback by his good looks and charms. He asks her to run off to Vegas with him and if that isn’t OK at least promise to go for a ride with him when everything calms down. The Wedding is a week-long event with breakfasts, bachelor and bachelorette parties, etc. planned. (OK, here I am getting mixed signals: the book is Jane and Austen so they are supposed to have a HEA but we see Will Dancey…Fitzwilliam Darcy, if ever I saw one – dark, brooding, rich, popular, with women chasing him, coming onto Jane. Where is the author going with this?)
This story is fast paced and there are many misunderstandings and angst and lots of tears, not to mention flirting and jealous looks between wedding guests. Then there are the parents…with daggers drawn and purse strings pulled tight.
I found this a very interesting and different modern take-off on Jane Austen’s books and characters. The author used a lot of imagination. All-in-all I would say she was very successful in giving us a diverting tale, which may keep you in suspense right up to the end. This is a very sweet tale so you can lend it to your daughter or your grandmother.
Meet Jane and Austen. First there's Jane—an impractical, starry-eyed wedding planner; if love can’t match what she’s read in a book, she doesn't want it. And then there’s Austen—a pragmatic, logical-to-a-fault financial consultant; even if he were interested in someone, he wouldn't know. The two have one thing in common: they can’t leave each other alone. Jane believes that if Austen could just experience a fairy tale romance, he would secretly love it. And Austen’s pretty sure that if one of Jane’s beloved heroes escaped from the pages of her dog-eared novels, she’d run and hide. Both are about to be proven right. When the rivals are called on to help a friend plan the biggest wedding of the year, an entire resort full of colorful wedding guests descends upon them—many sharing uncanny similarities to characters in a Jane Austen novel. It doesn't take long before Jane gets everything she thinks she wants. After all, too much of a good thing can’t be all that bad, right? But when Jane’s life turns upside down, the only one she can turn to is Austen; though he’s got his own troubles of the heart…and she's afraid that he's enjoying them more than he should.
I'll rate this 4.5 stars, rounded up. I hate having to give stars. I find them inadequate to the experience and so subjective anyway. I listened to the audiobook.
I've only read a couple of Jane Austen books and seen a couple of the films for other books, so I didn't get all there references, but Fowers made it work anyway. The story is a delightful mishmash of Jane Austenish characters set in a modern wedding center/bed and breakfast and patterned after the places in Jane Austen books.
It took me a little while to warm up to Austen, and the story took a long time to play out, but it had a complex cast of characters (Austen did write 6 books, after all, and most of them contributed) so it really required that. And Austen totally grew on me. But was he ever an emotional tease. I wanted to strangle him a few times.
And Jane, in her role of wedding planner and trying to be pleasant and helpful to the guests, ended up being a doormat in the first half of the book. Fortunately, she finally comes into her own ... and it's sweet justice. I felt bad for Jane too because she was so desperate that her romantic visions of things led her to make a lot of mistakes. I loved that both she and Austen learned from each her--she became more practical and he more romantic. That's what any good romance is about. I will be looking for other audiobooks by Fowers.
***I received a copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.