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Romance Reviews Today
THE RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT - Laurie Viera Rigler
Plume (Trade Paperback)
Present Day Los Angeles, California
Miss Jane Mansfield, a gentleman's daughter, went to sleep in her own bed in Somerset, England one night in 1813. She's awakened in the morning by a shrill sound and a horrible headache. She tries to summon her maid, but gradually realizes she's in a strange room. Jane is about to discover nothing about her is familiar...even her own image in the mirror. Certainly not the fair hair or the short, curvy figure or...gasp...the blue toenails! Or the nice man who pokes his head into the room with barely a knock and addresses her as Courtney. After some conversation confusing to both parties, Jane eventually makes a startling discovery. In short, she finds herself—her spirit, her soul, whatever it is that makes her a unique person—is trapped inside another's body, in another country, and in another century.
THE RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT is the dramatic and humorous sequel to Ms. Rigler's highly entertaining debut novel, CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT (my review can be found at Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict). In it, Courtney Stone found herself waking up in Jane Austen's England...and Jane Mansfield's life. Where the original Courtney was quite familiar with Jane's world through her reading, the original Jane finds herself among remarkable...nay, fantastic machines, appalling apparel, and scandalous social mores. And! She is expected to earn a living at an office job that bewilders her. The one thing the girls have in common is that they both recently suffered betrayal by a man.
I've found fictional time travel to the past is nearly always more interesting than tales of travel from the past to the present. Too often the forward leaping tales get bogged down on the gee whiz factor of first sight of cars, bikinis, TVs, computers and the like. THE RUDE AWAKENINGS is a fine example of how it should be done. The author treats Jane's puzzlement and amazement with a light touch, and in both books, she makes effective use of a kind of gradual awakening of muscle memory to speed the heroines' adjustments. The first person voice and present tense give the whole an immediacy that puts the reader right into the unfolding drama.
While THE RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT is a fun read, Jane/Courtney faces serious dilemmas, not least of which is wondering if or when she might return to her own place in time and locale, or if she even wants to. She makes friends in L.A. with three women and a certain man, whom she would surely miss if she again traded places with the other Courtney...er...other Jane. The first novel should probably be read first for the most enjoyment, but if it's hard to find, reading THE RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT as a stand-alone would be highly satisfactory.
I recently received news that further adventures of Jane and Courtney, entitled Sex and the Austen Girl, can be found online at Babelgum: http://www.babelgum.com/sexandtheaustengirl. You might give it a try. Babelgum: Sex And The Austen Girl: "Meeting Men" Episode #1