Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict
By: Laurie Viera Rigler
My Copy: Borrowed from library
A few months ago I picked up this author's first Austen-inspired book, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, when I kept seeing it pop up in my usual Jane Austen related searches on BookMooch. Surprisingly, which is odd for me since I tend to hate Austen fan fiction and tie-ins, I liked it. So, when I saw Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict sitting on the shelf during a visit to my local library I wondered if it would be as enjoyable as the first one.
Fellow readers, it was not. Being essentially the reverse of the story in Confessions -- a girl from Regency England gets magically transplanted into the body of a woman from 21st century Los Angeles -- I found it a rather boring read compared to its sister novel. Part of the problem was that the story does not have the same charm from the girl-from-the-past-time-warps-to-present-day angle. In Confessions, it was interesting for us to experience Regency life through the eyes of Courtney, the 21st century Jane Austen addict because we, as the reader, essentially are her -- lovers of Jane Austen finding ourselves in a unfamiliar time and place. But the reverse is just not as endearing or exciting. I cared little about Jane Mansfield's inability to work a computer or drive a car or about the fact that she had no clue what a cell phone was and had no idea Pride and Prejudice had been made into the greatest television mini-series of all time. Another weakness of the story was that it involved the same characters as in Confessions, so I knew exactly how the story was going to end because I had already been told in the previous book. This barely works in the newer Star Wars movies, and it certainly does not make me want to keep reading a book that was already boring me a bit.
That said, it's clear to me that the author is a true Austen devotee and that she put a lot of research into learning the customs, traditions, and values of 19th century English life. Her first effort really is an excellent one and I did enjoy it, but this follow up is definitely worth skipping. If it hadn't help to fill out my Jane Austen Reading Challenge, I wouldn't even have bothered to finish it.