01 September 2010

After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England.  Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

I was excited to receive 
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler to review for the Crazy Book Tours.  You can count me in as an Austen fan even though I've only read Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility thus far.  Suffice it to say, though, that you need not to be a full-grown connoisseur of all things Austen in order to truly appreciate this book.

Waking up in Regency England in the 1800s as Jane, Courtney is at a loss for understanding how her circumstances came to be, and how to more appropriately fit into this new world where women are definitely not considered equals to men.  She also inhabits the body of a very different woman than who Courtney is -- a woman who has dark hair, flawless skin, and a nice figure (albeit hidden in the sign of the times empire-waist fashion).  This obviously isn't the easiest part of the culture shock Courtney is experiencing, considering the fact that she's a 21st century chick from Los Angeles with a lot of man troubles and mother drama.  Not that it's any different in the "new" era for Courtney (I mean, Jane) -- she's got the same kind of dramatic mother, and she's still got those pesky man troubles.  In her 21st century life, she dumped a cheating fiance, and she slowly learns that no matter what era you're in, sometimes people don't ever really change, no matter what gender.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit -- it was incredible fun and such a quirky jaunt through Austen's time. Not to mention, it's a very easy read and was finished rather quickly.  
What I really enjoyed throughout this story is what I've always thought of at the idea of being able to somehow get into another time -- if I'm anywhere at the turn of a century whether 1900s, 1800s, or even earlier, I'm going to wonder how I'm going to brush my teeth?  What about a shower?  And oh, believe me, it's covered in this book -- complete with descriptions that made me wrinkle my nose and say "ugh!" out loud, or a quick chuckle when Courtney (whoops, Jane) is in church.  Here's a sad reminder, though, of class differences and distinction during the 1800s:

But first, a hot bath, which entails the usual heaving, sweating servants hauling buckets of steaming water up the stairs and then hauling the used water down the same route.  Once again, I swallow my guilt, refusing to join the ranks of the unwashed whose bodily odors, inadequately camouflaged by perfumes, assault my nose on a daily basis.  (p. 159)

And probably one of my favorite moments is a perfect example of the 21st century Courtney dealing with 19th century propriety - while everyone is speaking so perfectly, Courtney sometimes curses away in her head:

Mary sighs heavily.  "I do not blame you for being guarded."  I suppose it isn't her fault she was raised to be so tight-assed, but I'm not going to let her off that easily.(p. 145)

Were it not for Courtney's complete obsession with Austen novels in her modern life, I am not surprised that she was able to slowly become more familiar with her surroundings.  Some people eat loads of ice cream after a break up, but this character sticks to Jane Austen novels.  And although she has a few slip ups in saying the slang "Ok," which her mother doesn't understand, for the most part the toughest thing that she's truly trying to understand is how she got there and how she can get home. And maybe find the right man, too, without losing who she is in the process?


I laughed and had a blast while reading this 
and it looks like this is the first in a series, with the second entitled Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict.  No doubt I'll be looking out for that on my next book run!.  I found myself tickled by similar veins of restraint found in most novels set during this time, and what I just experienced with The House of Mirth post -- I found myself thinking on more than one occasion please, speak up, clear up the confusion!  Rigler's ability to fuse together the 21st century modern girl into the life and times of the 1800s was a fun jaunt down a lane in a world in Austen's time!

So the main question is:  What do you do after a bad break up?  Do you stick to the ice cream diet, or do you jump to a trusted book?

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick

28 comments:

  1. I also thought this book was great fun, and so is the next one; I'm sure you'll enjoy it also!

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  2. Hello! Ok I'm doing peer pressure -- sign up for R.I.P. -- yay!!

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  3. This does sound like a lot of fun!! I read my first Austen book this year (P&P) and I'm thinking this book might actually be more fun than Austen's books. (Ssshhhh ... don't tell.)

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  4. @ rhapsodyinbooks -- I can't wait to pick up the 2nd one, I read a quick blurb and I think I'm going to be very pleased with it, too!

    @ Amanda -- Oh, I love peer pressure when it comes to books!! :) Okay, okay, I'm going to swing on over!!

    @ Jenners -- It really was a fun read! And don't worry, like I said in the post, you don't have to be an Austen expert to get into this book. (And don't worry, I won't tell anyone!! :)

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  5. This looks like a fun read. I do quite enjoy Austen so I might like this one and I like that you mentioned it answers the shower and tooth brush question.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and becoming a follower! I really appreciate it! I'm following you now too and I look forward to more of your posts.

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  6. @ anjohnston -- I'd love to hear your thoughts, let me know if you pick it up! And it was a pleasure to visit your blog -- I love your blog name Down the Rabbit Hole!!

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  7. I'm not particularly an Austen fan, but I enjoyed this book a lot. I also want to read the next installment.

    After a breakup, I think only chocolate works. And chocolate biscuits. And maybe, maybe also chocolate ice cream.

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  8. @ leeswammes -- I've put it on my list to pick up the next book, I can't wait! And yes -- chocolate, chocolate, and well, possibly more chocolate is the perfect solution to a break up! :)

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  9. This looks like a great one! Thanks for the review.

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  10. I love the premise of this book! Thanks for the review.

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  11. I keep looking at this book and always bring home the sequel from the library... I need to read the first book!

    I love the cover the the book you are currently readig, I hope it's good.

    I'm a new follower :) - have a great day~

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  12. This one sounds interesting. I'm a huge Austen fan and I'd suggest reading Persuasion next, if you're up for another Austen anytime soon. It's my favorite!

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  13. Would love to read this... I also really wanted to see Becoming Jane w/ Anne Hathaway (i think).

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  14. @ Connie at SogniESorrisi -- Thanks for swinging by!!

    @ Brenna -- It is a really fun book!

    @ Mari -- Let me know what you think once you read the 1st one! And you're right, the 1st and 2nd books have a very similar cover -- easy to be confused, for sure! I just started reading "J'adore, New York," and I should be posting a review in the next couple of days! And thanks for being a new follower to the site!! :)

    @ Avid Reader -- I'd love to read Persuasion!! If you pick up Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!!

    @ Jaime at La vie...J'aime -- Becoming Jane Austen was fabulous!! Let me know what you think when you read this book -- it's very different, but it was a lot of fun!

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  15. This book sounds like so much fun! I've been married for 31 years, so it's been a long time since I've experienced any kind of break-up.

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  16. @ bermudaonion -- 31 years?! That's fantastic, congrats! Okay, so you don't have to worry about that!! I would love to hear what you think of this book if you read it -- it was a lot of fun!

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  17. I don't always like these Jane Austen themed books, but this one sounds like fun. I've always harbored some time travel fantasies too.

    Thanks for the great review!

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  18. @ ravenousreader -- I really enjoyed this one; it kind of wrapped up all the things that I enjoyed and was really well done when it came to blending that 21st century perspective with a 19th century world. I'd love to know what you think if you get a chance to pick this one up!

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  19. I really enjoyed this book too, but I have yet to read the sequel. Have you watched the mini-series "Lost in Austen"? It has a very similar premise and is lots of fun.

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  20. @ alitareads -- I haven't read the sequel either, but am looking forward to it! And I haven't seen "Lost in Austen," but I've heard about it! I wonder if I can Netflix it?

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  21. Great review! I really want to read it now, but have not read any Jane Austen yet so I should probably wait. Yes, I am hanging my head in shame.

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  22. This is one of those books I keep telling myself I have to make time for. I definitely need to move it up on my list.

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  23. I can see that the new Austen blog is perfect for you! For myself, I need to be a little more familiar with her novels, at least as much as with the BBC rendition of them in film. I've only read Pride and Prejudice, but I have Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey on my Nook.

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  24. @ Danielle -- No shame!! Definitely read Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility -- that should give you a good start!!

    @ Alyce -- Let me know what you think! It's a fun read!

    @ Bellezza -- I cannot wait to keep up with the new Austen blog, and I'm so glad you posted about it! I haven't read Northanger Abbey, but it is on my list as well! And I do so adore BBC, they do such a fabulous job!

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  25. this sounds like such a fun book! and after a bad break-up? i succumb to BOTH!!! Gallons of peanut butter & chocolate ice cream AND my trusted fave books!!!

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  26. @ Stacy at a Novel Source -- It is a fun book!! Oooh, peanut butter and chocolate ice cream?! That would DEFINITELY cure any break up!!!! :)

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  27. I really enjoyed this one, more so than the follow-up.

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  28. @ Staci -- I'm looking forward to reading the second one, I've heard a lot of different types of reviews, so I'll keep my fingers crossed!

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