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Selected reviews of the novels RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT and CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, and the web series inspired by the novels, SEX AND THE AUSTEN GIRL. (For more reviews, click on the title of the book on the menu bar above):
St. Petersburg Times (Confessions review)
A California girl in Jane Austen's days
A case of time travel reveals that not all was tea and crumpets.
By Tammar Stein, Special to the Times
Published September 23, 2007
Into the recent Jane Austen melee of adaptations, biopics and all around Austenmania, add another contender. Laurie Viera Rigler's Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict takes the familiar arena of Austen's empire-waist muslin, afternoon tea world and tweaks it in a clever, cheeky way.
Courtney Stone, a vodka-drinking, Jane Austen-loving, thoroughly modern California girl, wakes up one day to find herself living in a Jane Austen novel. Or rather, in the world depicted so vividly in those books. Everyone in the household refers to her as Jane Mansfield, and everything from her reflection in the mirror to her handwriting belongs to this other person.
Courtney/Jane takes weeks to decide if this is a dream, wish fulfillment or freaky science fiction accident, and months to come to terms with the answer. In the meantime, she must try to abide by a set of rules that seemed quaint and charming in the novels she compulsively read and re-read, but that chafe the sensibility of a 30-year-old woman from the 21st century. To be seen in the park without a chaperone, speaking to a male not one's relative, could compromise one's good name. Sex outside of marriage could ruin one for life.
Courtney/Jane's horror at the state of medicine and hygiene is understandable and comical. But her zinging, inappropriate comments during courtship and dinner conversation are jarring from such a fan of the period. One would expect her to impersonate a lady better than she does.
Clearly an Austen fan, Rigler sprinkles the novel with all the beloved landmarks of the novels, including trips to Bath and London, and an evening soiree. Confessions is a fast read and a fun one for those who, like Courtney/Jane, have read everything Jane Austen has to offer and still long for her refined, gently paced world.
Tammar Stein is the author of the award-winning novel "Light Years." She will appear at the St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading on Oct. 27 at University of South Florida St. Petersburg.