Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review: Jane and Austen by Stephanie Fowers

Title: Jane and Austen
Author: Stephanie Fowers
Enjoyment Rating: **
Source: Digital Copy
Content Alert: a clean read

Take all of the characters from Jane Austen's novels, change their names slightly, and throw them together at a hotel in San Diego for a wedding celebration. Add in another bunch of place names, very slightly different (as in misspelled) from Austen's originals (like "Brightin Beach," which reminded me of a child who only could have been born in Utah and made me want to gag). Finally, throw into the mix a girl named Jane and a boy named Austen. They're truly mismatched-- she a starry romantic and he a practical MBA student, but this is a romance novel, so love will conquer all.

Okay, so this is going to sound less diplomatic than perhaps it should-- can everyone just lay off on the Jane Austen remakes? I think most people agree that Jane Austen was pretty much the best at writing smart romances that were really cultural commentaries. Chances are that if you try your hand at modernizing or rewriting or I-don't-really-know-what-this-is-ing to a Jane Austen story, you're going to fall significantly short of the original. That doesn't mean that there aren't the Cluelesses of the world, but Jane and Austen is not a Clueless. Fowers provided a directory in the back of the novel to show draw the parallels between characters in Jane and Austen and in Jane Austen, but I decided I didn't really care enough by that point. A little less madcap, a little less cutesy would have gone a long way with this story.

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