"Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict" by Laurie Viera Rigler: A Review
As a fan of Jane Austen who has, on occasion, been disappointed by Austen adaptations or re-imaginings, I approached this book with reservations. No-one can be more pleased than I am to say my skepticism proved undeserved. Here is a book that any lover of the books of Jane Austen is sure to relish and appreciate!
What would happen if a recently and multiply heart-broken modern-day woman, who has fallen asleep drinking vodka and reading Pride and Prejudice while mourning her broken engagement, were to wake up in Jane Austen's England? This is how the book begins. Courtney wakes up to find everyone calling her Jane Mansfield, doctors wishing to bleed ill humors out of her, and a marriage-obsessed mother threatening to put her into an asylum if she keeps insisting she is not, indeed, Jane. Courtney decides to play along convinced she'll soon wake up back in modern day Los Angeles, until she realizes perhaps it isn't a dream after all.
The reader gets to experience the early nineteenth-century English countryside, Bath, and London through eyes at once modern and Austenian. Throw in a bit of pride, a bit of prejudice, and a host of characters, plots, and subplots, and it all melds into a wonderful kaleidoscope of Austen.
The story is so deftly plotted, simultaneously familiar and new, the characters so likeable (and dislikeable), the prose so fluid and fresh, that the book goes by in a flash. Austen's words and world are ever-present, without weighing the story down. Laurie Viera Rigler has accomplished a marvel—a delicately-mastered fusion of the beloved and known with the sure-to-be-loved, not-yet-known.
I meant to read a few chapters before bed and ended up foregoing sleep, staying up all night, to read the book in one sitting. Whether you are a die-hard "Austen addict" or just discovering Austen's world, this book is sure to delight.