Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict & Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict A review by Laurel Ann Nattress

confessionsFrom the Desk of Laurel Ann Nattress Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict By Laurie Viera Rigler Happy news for all you UK Austen fans. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict is invading your shores. UK Janeites will now know what all the laughter has been about across the pond since this book was released in 2007 when you finally meet Courtney Stone, a modern LA singleton who mysteriously wakes up from a booze induced stupor to be transported back in time into the body of Regency era Jane Mansfield. No, that’s not the actress Jayne Mansfield, but I love the play of words. We see plenty of that as author Laurie Viera Rigler places her modern thinking Jane Austen addicted heroine Courtney into the 1813 era life of Jane, an unmarried woman of thirty who is also facing a cross roads in her life after a riding accident knocks her unconscious and her threatening ma’ma is determined that she conform or be sent to the insane asylum. Even though Courtney has inhabited Jane’s body, she has no recollection of her memories, only adding to her frustration and angst. Jane’s world could not possibly be worse than her own shattered life back in the future after her fiancé Frank shagged their wedding cake designer, and her best friend Wes covered up for the cad. The engagement is off in her own life, but with her new personae Jane, it has yet to happen, much to the disapprobation of her mercenary ma’ma who is quite determined that she accept her latest suitor Charles Edgeworth. This dishy buck is even richer and more handsome than Mr. Darcy, so Courtney can not understand Jane’s hesitation in accepting him. Not knowing their back story she trys to fake her way through, all the while reminding herself that it is all a dream and she will wake up or get back to her own life at any moment. Until then, she must negotiate her way through a time where repugnant body odor is ignored, blood letting common practice, and the social customs and mores for a women in her upper class station are so restrictive that her 21st-century sensibilities clash even after her years of reading Jane Austen novels. With stream of consciousness, pulse beating detail, we follow Courtney/Jane through her travails, cringe over her disgust, feel her anxiety, share in her laughter, and find hope after she meets a fortune teller in Bath who might have the answers to how this mysterious transformation took place, and how she can get home. Courtney Stone is one of those characters that you just want to wrap up in a big hug. A cross between Bridget Jones and Catherine Morland, author Viera Rigler has crafted a young woman so fresh, funny and real she could be your best friend, workmate or YOU in the same situation! Her use of driving first person narrative places the reader within her heroine’s mind adding intensity, candor and humorous insight. Her encounter with Jane Austen herself on a London street is so hilariously embarassing that it was the high point of the novel for me. Once you have begun on Courtney/Jane’s journey, you will be hard pressed to put it down, hooked on living her Regency era life through the filter of her quirky Jane Austen sensibilities. What Courtney discovers about herself through her gradual transformation will pleasantly remind you of why we all become Austen addicts to begin with. And to sweeten the deal, the highly anticipated parallel story Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict told from Jane Mansfield’s perspective in modern Courtney’s life in LA will be released in the US in June. So, sorry UK readers but if you can not wait another two years for the UK edition, I highly recommend spending the extra pewter and pre-ordering it today!
 Buy online at our giftshop for £7.99
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC;
  • First UK Edition edition (16 Mar 2009)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 074759421X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747594215
rudeRude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict By Laurie Viera Rigler Is there always another chance at happiness? Are we bound to our past, or do “we all have the power to create heaven on earth, right here, right now?” Important questions heroine Jane Mansfield must come to acknowledge and understand in Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Laurie Viera Rigler’s parallel story to her best selling novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. This time around, it is Jane Mansfield a gentleman’s daughter from 1813 who is transported into the body of twenty-first century Los Angelean Courtney Stone. Jane awakens with a headache, but it will take more than aromatic vinegar to solve her problems. Where is she? Her surroundings are wholly unfamiliar to the usual comforts of her parent’s palatial Manor house in Somerset. Is she dreaming? She remembers a tumble off her horse Belle, but nothing after that point. She looks in the mirror and the face reflected back is not her own. How can this be? A young man named Wes arrives who calls her Courtney. Is he a servant? Who is Courtney? Ladies arrive for a visit concerned by her odd behavior. Why is she acting like a character in a Jane Austen novel? Jane is indeed a stranger in a strange land. As her friends, or Courtney’s friends Paula, Anna and Wes, help her navigate through the technology of cell phones, CD players, washing machines and other trappings of our modern life it becomes less taxing. She relishes her privacy and independence to do as she chooses, indulging in reading the four new (to her) novels by Jane Austen that she discovers on Courtney’s bookshelf – one passion/addiction that she shares in common with her over the centuries. Between Jane Austen’s keen insights and the fortune teller called “the lady”, she might be able to make sense of this nonsensical world she has been thrown into. Is this the same fortune teller she met in Bath in her own life? She had warned her not to ride her horse. Or did she? Are her memories and Courtney’s one in the same? The lady tells her she has work to do to put Courtney’s life in order. Jane only wants to return to her former life and Charles Edgeworth, the estranged beau she left behind. Seeing our modern world from Jane’s nineteenth century eyes was quite revealing. I do not think that I will ever look at a television screen again without remembering her first reaction to the glass box with tiny people inside talking and dancing like characters from Pride and Prejudice! These quirky insights are what Rigler excels at, and her Regency era research and knowledge of Jane Austen plays out beautifully. We truly understand Jane’s reactions and sympathize with her frustrations. Not only is Rude Awakenings a comedy of lifestyle comparisons across the centuries, it supplies a very interesting look at modern courtship and romance with a bit of genteel feminisms thrown in for good measure. Interestingly, what principals and standards that Jane learned in the nineteenth century, will straighten out Courtney’s mixed up twenty-first century life at home, work and in her budding romance with Wes. Buy online at our giftshop for £7.99
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (7 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408813068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408813065
A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the editor of the short story anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, and Austenprose.com, a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington where it rains a lot. Visit Laurel Ann at her blog Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress. This review originally appeared on Austeprose.com and is used here with permission.

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