Initially, when browsing books to choose from, at our first meeting this title jumped out at me. I adore Jane Austen’s novels and characters so something that has a potential link to her or her works generates a spark of immediate interest.
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler to be our first read. Being that I work in a library the very next day I checked to see if we had it on hand. Checked out — drats! I decided quickly to purchase the book via Kindle app on my iPad. I couldn’t wait to delve into the plot. The summary had me enticed at what possibilities lay ahead.
Courtney Stone, after suffering humiliation at the hands of her fiance, falls asleep reading a favorite Jane Austen novel and wakes up in bedroom that doesn’t belong to her. In fact, she wakes up to find she is in a different person’s body — in another century! Believing herself in a dream she is indifferent to her predicament.
Quickly the importance of carrying on as who she appears to be, Jane Mansfield, is impressed upon her if she is to survive in this time period. Courtney, while trying to blend in and understand the requirements of the time she is in, also searches for how she can get back to Los Angeles and her own life.
SPOILER — Please do not read further if you plan to read this book!
In the beginning I was intrigued as to how events would unfold and eager to see what Courtney would experience. But I became disappointed with this character. While she proclaimed to be an avid fan of Jane Austen’s works, her actions and thoughts didn’t seem to show it. I imagine that if any of us would somehow be transported to the nineteenth century that, yes, it would be a shock and we would definitely not know how to react to a lot of things. (e.g. dinner customs, phrases of language, bathing, and other hygiene matters) Although how she thought and acted towards men she found attractive, would someone who is “well-versed” in Austen act that way without thinking of what the implications could be? It just struck me as odd.
Another thing was constant comparison of Wes to Charles. Did they have a connection?
Her discussion with the fortune-teller only brought more questions. Was she saying that an identity could be fluid and wherever your focus is at the time is who you are? Had she been Jane all along, as well as Courtney? Since James referenced that Jane “always did talk like that” when it came to rank and people’s station in life according to their family. Along with the stories of Abraham Lincoln and Rosa Parks.
Then there is the diary letter at the end — where she admits to have forgotten most everything. That Charles reminded her that she had “the gift of story” and wanted to hear again the story she told him on their wedding journey. After that, it’s all just a story to her and she mentions her “whispering to me at odd times and telling me her tales.”
I feel that, without a firm explanation given, the ending felt rushed and confusing. I was disappointed to the point where I decided reading the sequel was not on my to-do list. At least not any time soon.
The No Pressure Book Club met Thursday, May 17, at Corner Bakery Cafe to discuss our thoughts about Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.
After only a few minutes it was apparent we all shared the same opinion.
Although enjoying small points — bathing and hygiene customs — being brought out that might not be thought of while reading Austen novels, we were disappointed in the book. We agreed that the explanation of what happened (or lack-of), especially the ending, seemed as if the words just ran circles around each other and did not make much sense. One of the ladies said that, while reading the ending, she felt the author thought of the readers as stupid due to how she left the ending of the book.
Have you read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict ? What were your thoughts?
I’m holding out hope that our next title – The Night Circus – I will enjoy more!
I chose a slice of lemon pound cake and brought home a chocolate baby bundt cake for Ken. His won the best treat of the night award in my book.