I have to admit that I can’t resist a book inspired by or related to Jane Austen. When I heard about this one, it sounded like it was going to be great fun and it really was. Jane Austen is a time traveller – yes, really! Rose Wallace is a true Janeite, the name given to devotees of Jane Austen’s work. Much of her life revolves around her love of Austen’s work so you can imagine that when she comes across a rather familiar looking woman during Bath’s festival dedicated to Jane, it seems like a dream come true. Okay, quite an unlikely thing to happen but amazing nonetheless.
Well, it turns out that this is not so much a dream as a nightmare, certainly for any Jane Austen fan. Jane has come to the present time by means of a portal but the way back has gone and now she is stuck. However, because the year she came from was 1803, before any of her books were published, nobody knows who she is and nobody has heard of Elizabeth Bennet, Mr Darcy, Mr Knightley, Marianne or any of the beloved characters.
It was fun reading about how things had changed in a world with no Jane Austen novels. When something hasn’t happened in the past, the future is changed too. Rose’s world is very different as much of her life has been inspired by Jane Austen. She has a different job, different friends, different skills and even lives in a different place. Bath itself has changed. With no Jane Austen, there are no attractions related to the lady or her work, no tourism industry built around her. Some actors’ careers are not so stellar. Take Colin Firth for example, would he have been so successful without that famous wet shirt scene as Mr Darcy? Many books and films inspired by Jane Austen have never seen the light of day – no Bridget Jones! Even the cat in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series has a different name as she was named after a character in Mansfield Park.
A lot of this book is rather amusing as Jane tries to navigate modern life. She is less than impressed with convenience stores, finding them most inconvenient, but she is very taken with Post-It notes. I laughed out loud at the thought of Jane reading Fifty Shades of Grey on a bookseller’s recommendation and anticipating an interesting study of character…
I was interested to read in the authors’ notes at the back that lots of the historical details related to Jane’s life were actually true even if they seemed unlikely. These were woven very well into the plot. I thought that the authors captured Jane’s singular way of speaking rather well and enjoyed the warm friendship that sprung up between Rose and Jane, despite their very different ways of life. As Jane herself said of the different eras, “Some things were simpler, some are not so much…. there has been progress in many ways, but… human nature remains the same.”
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen was a very entertaining, enjoyable read. I am pleased to see that there is already another book in the series and I’ll look forward to reading that too.
My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to take part in the blog tour and for my review copy of the book. The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is available now in ebook and paperback formats and you can order a copy from various book retailers using the links below.
Barnes & Noble (and Nook)
From the back of the book
When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it’s up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she’s the only one who knows that Jane exists!
Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…
But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.
Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!
Meet the authors
A proud bookworm since childhood, Cass writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.
She has an over-active imagination, is prone to crying with happiness as much as she is at sadness, but when it comes to her writing she leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.
Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine, and enjoys them in any combination. She currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.
Ada has lived all her life in Southern California, which makes her intolerant to any weather above or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. She grew up much more fond of reading than sports or socializing and still tends to ignore everyone she loves, all her responsibilities and basic life needs when she’s in the middle of a book.
She is luckily married to a handsome and funny man who doesn’t mind that the laundry never gets put away and she has three amazing children. Ada spent over a decade as a photographer before dedicating herself to writing, though she still believes that life should be documented well and often.
There is nothing she loves more than a good, subtle love story whether it be in real life, tv, movie, theatre or book form… well, except cake. She also really loves cake.
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