Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jane Bites Back: A Review

I got talked into reading this by several friends:

Jane Austen, everyone's favorite spinster aunt likes to unwind by having a glass of wine, petting her cat Tom, reading, and of course drinking blood straight from the jugular. No, she didn't die in 1817, she was turned into a vampire by a mysterious man. Since then she came to the US, has been moving from town to town every few years to avoid suspicion and counting the rejection notices on her novel "Constance." No one has wanted to publish it for the past 200 years and Jane fears she may have lost her touch and run out of stories.
She's resigned herself to running a bookshop in upstate NY and rebuffing the advances of cute locals until a publisher suddenly accepts her manuscript and an unwelcome visitor from the past arrives.

I'm not really onboard with the whole vampire thing, but I loved the idea of hearing what Jane would have to say (so to speak) about the Austen-mania and spinoffs of recent years. A friend assured me it was full of literary jokes that I would appreciate and they were very humorous.
In spite of the years, Jane was still a little old fashioned, she still had some standards and ideals especially in regard to reading material and foul language. Her sidekick Lucy is a great character, though some of her reactions are a little strange later on in the story. The figure from Jane's past is very intruiging and though set up as a character that brings trouble, he turns out to be multi-dimmensional and even sympathetic at moments.
Overall, it was well thought out and had many great literary cameos. It was also great to have a novel written by an Austen Guy, the men that appreciate Austen are more likely to emphasize the satiric wit of Austen more than the romance. Ford made good insights into Jane, though the cat owning, wine and chocolate consuming 40 ish woman angle was a bit of a cliche. At least she wasn't a wussy, sparkly vampire.
The perfect quick read for anyone that loves Austen and vampires. Not to spoil anything but fans of Charlotte Bronte may be somewhat offended by some scenes of the book. I thought they were good fun, I love both Jane and Charlotte.

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