Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Review: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

Summary: After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman’s life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her level of Austen mania has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condom-less seducers, and marriages of convenience.

This looking-glass Austen world is not without its charms, however. There are journeys to Bath and London, balls in the Assembly Rooms, and the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who may not be a familiar species of philanderer after all. But when Courtney’s borrowed brain serves up memories that are not her own, the ultimate identity crisis ensues. Will she ever get her real life back, and does she even want to? -- Plume Books

When Book Club Girl selected CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT by Laurie Viera Rigler as her latest choice for her Blog Talk Radio show, I was very excited. I had heard so many good things about this book, and I was looking for an "excuse" to read it. However, I did have one very big reservation about reading this book -- I haven't read much Jane Austen and I definitely don't consider myself to be very familiar with her works. Having said that, I am so glad that I read this book -- I thoroughly enjoyed it (and I didn't have to be a Jane Austen expert to appreciate it!)

The book was extremely easy to read and the story kept moving right along. I loved the main character of Courtney/Jane (I'm not sure how to refer to her since she "lived" as two different people in two different time periods.) I found her to be very funny, and I thought her perceptions about people were spot on. I also enjoyed how she discovered things about herself (or should I say herselves?) and eventually realized that both of her personas had more in common than she first thought.

I absolutely loved the concept for this book -- a modern day thirty year old woman (Courtney) is transported back into 1813 England where she finds herself a totally different person (Jane.) I thought that Ms. Viera Rigler did a wonderful job of taking her readers back in time with Courtney and allowing us to see what life was like during Jane Austen's time. I especially enjoyed the section of the book where Courtney/Jane becomes completely star-struck when she finds herself in the presence of the great Jane Austen.

You have to check out the website for CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT especially if you are a Jane Austen fan! This site is chock full of not only things about Ms. Viera Rigler's book, but also lots of good stuff about Jane Austen. I especially liked the links she has to various book club resources as well as some of her favorite blogs and websites. Many of you movie fans will love her links to the trailers from many Jane Austen adaptations. I have to say that most enjoyed reading the backstory for CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT -- I thought her explanations about how this novel can to be were fascinating.

I think this book would made a terrific selection for your book club -- I'm pretty sure that my book club would love it. There is a reading guide to help stimulate your conversation, but there are also lots of things to discuss in addition to these questions. In addition, Ms. Viera Rigler is available for an author chats -- click here to make a request. After listening to her on Blog Talk Radio, I'm sure she would be a wonderful addition to your meeting!

The radio show was so much fun -- thanks to Book Club Girl for hosting these chats! Ms. Viera Rigler was very interesting! She gave us a lot of insight into the story; however, she still left the book open for different interpretations by the reader. I was thrilled to hear that she is working on her next novel which is a sequel (kind of) to CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT. The new book will be a similar premise to CONFESSIONS, but Jane will wake up as Courtney in modern-day L.A.

If you are looking for a fun read that's perfect for the summer, I highly recommend CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT. I enjoyed this book so much that I now want to revisit all of Jane Austen's novels -- I'm pretty sure that Ms. Viera Rigler would be happy that her book caused that reaction in a reader!


Cheryl said...

This book sounds good. I actually have never read a Jane Austen book but I have seen many movies that were from her books. I know not the same

Julie said...

Are you going to give a copy away? :)

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to read this, will have to add to my tbr:)

Anonymous said...

Hi, Julie--it really makes me happy that you found my book accessible and that it's inspired you to revisit Jane Austen's novels. Also happy to have discovered your blog, which I'm going to add to my site as a resource for book clubs!

Anonymous said...

I ran right out and got this in paperback, but couldn't read it by the talk. Hope I will be able to get into it soon!

Anna said...

I love Jane Austen and I'm addicted to these new books about her and/or her characters. Thanks for the review.