Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler~★★★

Author: Laurie Viera Rigler 
Title: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict
Release Date: June 25, 2009

Publisher: Dutton Adult
Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket: "Jane Mansfield has long wished to escape the confines of life in nineteenth-century England. But awakening as twenty-first-century Los Angeleno Courtney Stone is not what she had in mind. Nor is Courtney's barred-window urban box of an apartment. Gone are the rolling lawns and hovering servants of Jane's family estate. Gone is even a single friend who sees her or knows her as Jane. Nothing---not even her face in the mirror---is the same. The only thing familiar, the only thing she appears to have in common with the strange woman in whose life she has landed, is Jane Austen.
Not everything about the modern world is disagreeable. The apartment may be tiny, but it has a delightful glass box in which tiny figures act out scenes from Pride and Prejudice. And Jane may not be rich, but she has her first taste of privacy, independence, even the chance to earn her own money. Granted, if she wants to leave the immediate neighborhood on her own, she may have to learn to drive the roaring, horseless metal carriage. And oh, what places she goes! Public assemblies that pulsate with pounding music. Unbound hair and unrestricted clothing. The freedom to say what she wants when she wants---even to men without a proper introduction! 
There are, however, complications. Such as the job she has no idea how to do. The bills that must be paid, despite the dwindling bank account. The confusing memories that are not her own. And the friend named Wes, who is as attractive and bewildering as the man who broke her heart back home. How is Jane to navigate a world in which kissing and flirting and even the sexual act itself raise no matrimonial expectations? With only Austen's words and a mysterious lady to guide her, Jane cannot help but wonder if she would be better off in her own time, where at least the rules are clear---if returning is even an option."

Taryn's Review: I read Rigler's book Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict in 2009 and I liked it. I always wondered what happened to Jane-living-as-Courtney in the present times. My history background always makes me interested in books about time travel. What on earth would a woman from the year 1813 think of the world in 2009?

It was fun to read Jane's thoughts about the technology around her, especially when she mentioned how much people from her world would enjoy the inventions, such as the refrigerator. I thoroughly looked forward to Jane's commentary on the world around her, like the paper jar that held her ice cream or her first trip to the movies. I'm so jealous...I want to time travel!

Jane noted the paper money that Wes pulled out and tried to convert it into pounds, but what struck me most about that encounter was that Jane, while living back in her world, mentioned that she had wondered what had became of the former colonies when she saw the words, "United States of America," printed on the money. Uh, there was a pretty well-documented war that I'm sure a British woman living in 1813 would have been familiar with: the Revolutionary War. Also, Jane should have known what happened to the former colonies because those former colonies were in the midst of fighting the War of 1812 with Britain, which lasted until late 1814 and longer in some areas. Jane was transported from 1813, so surely she would have recognized the two were engaged in war at the time she left her world. I know, boring history facts, but it should have been pertinent in this book!

Jane adapted to life in 2009 rather quickly and the author explained away some issues rather easily. Jane was able to remember things like how to drive, Courtney's feelings for Frank, Jane's attraction to Wes, and such due to something the author called "cellular memory." Cellular memory helped Jane just know how to use a keyboard, yet Jane had no clue how to use a cell phone. Little issues like that tarry the fun of the story for me. Cellular memory was too convenient of a tool in the book to push the story into the direction the author needed it to go. And the psychic was a bit over-the-top, too. I understood she was supposed to help Jane see the bigger picture and give her the inspiration to gain wisdom, but I felt it was somewhat cliche and again, an easy route for the author to interject into Jane's role as Courtney. 

Overall, it's a simple book to read and an easy one to enjoy. The story isn't anything new, but Rigler obviously knows her Austen literature and it was fun to have that element scattered throughout the book. This isn't a book I feel the urge to add to my bookshelf, but it was pleasant enough that I'm not regretful I read it. However, the ending left me going HUH? I think Jane was a bit too lax about her future as I'd be freaking out!

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