Book 55 of my 2014 Reading Challenge
Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
Sequel to the book Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
Summary (via the book jacket)
Jane Mansfield has long wished to escape the confines of life in nineteenth-century England. But awakening as twenty-first-century Log 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 a love of 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 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.
My OpinionThis is listed as a sequel to Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict but a better description to me is that this is a companion book. I actually think the two books would've made a more cohesive story if they had been combined, perhaps in alternating chapters. But they are what they are. I'd written my review of Confessions... before knowing this "sequel" exists and will go back and edit it to reflect that and rate it slightly higher since some of the questions that went unanswered at that time were answered at the end of this book.
Now to move on to review Rude Awakenings... on its own.
Meh. Jane is the kind of character that frustrates me because she made things more difficult than they needed to be -- just accept the help you were offered already! I also didn't buy the explanation of how she suddenly knew how things (phones, cars, etc.) worked when they had befuddled her for the first half of the story.
I found the random body descriptions ("as I dry this well-formed body..." and "It is strange to watch these hands which are not my hands, these plumper, stronger, broader hands, hold the pencil.", for example) awkward and oddly placed within the story.
I've since discovered that there is an edition that contains Confessions..., Rude Awakenings..., and the original Pride and Prejudice together in one edition. I don't know that seeking that out is necessary, but if you're going to read one, you have to read them both (and in the correct order - Confessions... first).
A Few Quotes from the Book"Each of us has the power to create heaven or hell, right here, right now. I do not know how I have come to be in this time, in this place, in this body. But I do know that any place where there are six novels by the author of Pride and Prejudice must be a very special sort of heaven."
"And so I entered the fortune-teller's tent, leaving Mary outside. And I wished with all my heart for a different life. I wished with all my heart to be somewhere, anywhere else. To be someone else. If only that were possible, I thought.
And here I am."