Saturday, March 28, 2009

What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown

Basic Back Blurb-Eleanor is a costume designer in England for the Jane Austen festival, where her room at the inn is haunted. In the middle of the night she encounters two ghost sisters whose brother was killed in a duel over 200 years ago. They persuade her to travel back in time with them to prevent the duel. Eleanor is swept into a country house party, presided over by the charming Lord Shermont, where she encounters and befriends Jane Austen. But there's much more to Lord Shermont than the ghosts knew, and as Eleanor dances and flirts with him, she begins to lose her heart.

I probably should've reviewed this book right after I read it, but it was one of those where I had to think about it for awhile to even decide if I'd liked it. Not that it was a bad book, because it was actually pretty good. I think my issue with it was the time spent back-in-time.

When Eleanor first shows up, she finds out there was an issue with her reservation. Gets put in a room guests usually aren't allowed to stay in, she falls asleep and that's when the ghosts show up.

I'll admit here and now...I'm not a big fan of the ghost helper stories. They drive me nuts. This book was no exception. The ghosts get Eleanor back in time and then disappear. 99% of the time while she's back in time, the story makes no sense. It's all very conveniently done by the ghosts who basically tweak everyones memories to explain why she's there.

I don't know...I think the story would've worked better for me if Jane Austen hadn't been part of the story at all. Eleanor drove me up the wall and I couldn't understand why Lord Shermont liked her so much.

Now, Lord Shermont was yummy. A man with no memory whose life has taken some interesting turns, he was a blast to read about.

There were aspects of the book that were really good, like the history, the intro of Jane Austen and that sort of thing, but I think the story came across a bit contrived. If it had been a standard time-travel, it would have been passable, but because of the fact that Eleanor is a JA fan and keeps trying to come across like a heroine in a JA novel, it just rubbed me wrong.

There's a twist at the end that wasn't really a surprise since it was pretty obvious, even to me. It gives us the HEA romance readers like. It wasn't as bad as a certain historical time-travel novel written by an extremely well-known author (who shall remain nameless, but I have a feeling you all know EXACTLY who I mean), but it wasn't great either.

I think that's the biggest issue I have with time-travel novels. You have basically two choices. You can throw someone back in time, have them fall in love, yank them back forward in time and then try to put together a HEA OR you can throw someone forward in time and do it all over again. I don't know...they just don't work for me.

For lovers of time-travel and Jane Austen this is the book for you. It's got a romance, intrigue, mystery, etc. all thrown into a convenient package. It just didn't work for me unfortunately.

Am I being too harsh? I don't think so. I'm not dissing the author's writing or even the story really. It just didn't work for me. I didn't hate it, but I also didn't love it either.

My Rating: C

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