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Jane and the Damned: A Novel Paperback – September 28, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Mullany (Improper Relations) pens an impressively compelling Jane Austen mashup full of humor ("You damned Damned!") and poignant irony. At a Basingstoke dance, the Austen sisters encounter some fashionable Londoners with a taste for blood. Jane is drawn to meet one of the Damned, enigmatic William, who turns her into a vampire against her will. Reverend Austen takes the family to Bath to seek a cure, but when the French invade England, Jane joins the other vampires in putting their superhuman strength and speed to the service of their country. Purists might regret Cassandra's relegation to soppy sister, but the bond between Jane and her father, the small scenes that reflect Austen's novels, the sly humor of a vampire Prince Regent, and an abundance of moral dilemmas and vivid action make this a very satisfying page-turner for vamp-lovers and Austen fans alike.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Mullany rewrites history in more ways than one in this novel, which sets up Jane Austen as a vampire. In 1797, Jane is attending a ball when she’s bedazzled by a seductive young man named Mr. Smith who happens to be one of the Damned, a genteel group of vampires who operate on the edges of polite society. A stolen moment with the dashing Mr. Smith has grave consequences for Jane, who wakes to find she has been transformed into one of the Damned. Her family takes her to Bath, where the waters are reported to be the only cure for vampirism. But soon after the Austens arrive in Bath, the French militia takes over the city. The only ones who stand a chance of defeating the invaders are the Damned, and a powerful, handsome vampire offers to take Jane under his wing and show her how to use her new abilities to help fight the French. A fast-paced adventure for those who don’t mind the vampire craze impinging upon historical events and beloved authors. --Kristine Huntley
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What was to be a quiet trip however, becomes an eye-opening experience for Jane. The vampires she had encountered before are in Bath as well. Exposure to them brings jealousy and betrayal; friendship and love, to Jane’s small world. All these new experiences must be set aside though for England is at war with France and the French have taken to invading Bath.
Jane and the Damned is a kind of alternate reality type novel. While Jane Austen and her family did travel to Bath, it was several years after this novel takes place. The French did not overtake the city and a clan of vampires certainly didn’t drive them out. Though to be honest, that would have been very interesting!
Glimpses of famous Jane Austen characters are seen scattered throughout the book, something that is quite amusing and proof that Ms. Mullany knows her Austen. Light and very tongue in cheek at times, near heartbreaking at others, I found it very entertaining. The book itself has mixed reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon. Personally I thought it quite enjoyable.
True Austen fans might have trouble with characterization, but that shouldn’t deter any one from reading this. Jane and the Damned is a delightful romp and I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
Mullany, however doesn't attempt to redo our beloved novels but to give us a little Jane and the writing is quite good. She stays true to what I imagine the young gentlewoman would have been like (with one barely mentioned night of passion between Jane and a certain gentleman) and we get hints of her inspiration for "future" novels. Jane is presented as a woman of class and morality and gets to kick some bad-guy butt. I like the way Mullany has drawn Miss Austen for us and enjoyed this book very much. I am now onto the following title, "Blood Persuasion".
I absolutely adore Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice rates as one of my favourite books of all time. I'd seen this book floating around the blogosphere the last few years and hadn't had a chance to pick it up yet, but decided to do so recently when I was craving some Austen.
Let me start by saying I'm not a purist. While I do love my Jane Austen original novels and movies (hello Colin Firth as the best Mr Darcy ever), I also love some of the Jane Austen sequels and paranormals that have been released in recent times. I went into reading Jane and the Damned with an open mind. I knew there would be vampires and I knew that it wouldn't be exactly like Jane's original novels and I absolutely loved it for what it is - a fantastic take on Jane as a vampire.
The war breaking out between England and France while Jane is in Bath gave this story a great adventurous feel. I got to see a different side of Jane, not just the sedate authoress, but the Jane that is willing to fight for her country - even if it means ripping out the throats of her enemies!!
The romance is high in Jane and the Damned, as Jane falls in love and then must choose if she stays as a immortal or takes the cure. Her deciding factor is that as a vampire, they don't have the talents for the arts the way that they do as mortals, so she must choose between love or her writing...
"You write a few books that entertain your family and you win a little fame, perhaps even some money, while you live. And after, what then? Your books languish forgotten on dusty bookshelves and you are but a name on a binding that disappears with decay and time. You think your books offer a chance at immortality?"
I loved Jane and the Damned and once I started I just couldn't put it down. The war-time action, the romance and well simply the wonderful Jane Austen and it all added up to a great book. I'm so pleased that there is a sequel, Blood Persuasion. I can't wait to see what Jane Austen gets up to next.