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Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine's Guide to Life and Love
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Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine's Guide to Life and Love

2.84  ·  Rating Details ·  221 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Advice delivered with sense and sensibility just in time for the major motion picture Becoming Jane

View our feature on Austen-inspired books and special content.

Women have looked to Jane Austen’s heroines as models of appropriate behavior for nearly two centuries. Who better to understand the heart of a heroine than Austen? In this delightful epistolary “what if,” Austen
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Paperback, 157 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Plume (first published 2005)
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Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
In the course of your daily life, have you ever stopped and wondered “What Would Jane Do?” When dealing with difficult decisions or in need of some advice, do you ever find yourself wishing you could ask Jane Austen? We all know Jane Austen is intelligent, moral, and observant, and we know that she often dispensed wise counsel and advice to her brothers and nieces, but is she able to help us modern-day heroines who live in the twenty-first century?

Of course she is! Jane Austen is timeless and in
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Andrew
Sep 22, 2007 Andrew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It’s not difficult to imagine that if Jane Austen were alive today, she might make a living as the heir to Abigail Van Buren, dispensing advice to wayward, miserable or generally confused souls. After all, she was the creator of meddling-but-well-intentioned Emma Woodhouse. In “Dear Jane Austen,” Hannon, who holds a Ph.D. in English literature from Rutgers University and has been teaching Austen’s novels for years, answers the question: what would Jane Austen tell 21st century women about life, ...more
Lauren
Sep 01, 2014 Lauren rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Dear Jane Austen might seem like a fun little read for any Austen-lover, but while her work is iconic, there are many modern cases in which Austen's 200+ year old advice cannot apply. The author wrote Austen in a very unlikable way and dispensed VERY dated advice that - while obviously not intended to be something people would actually follow - wasn't the slightest bit entertaining to read. Hand-holding on a first date?! TOO FORWARD! CO-HABITATION?! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?! Altogether, it was ...more
Brianna
Nov 30, 2014 Brianna rated it it was ok
I liked the premise of this book -- that Jane Austen would give "column" advice to modern day women, by using her published heroines as examples -- but not the execution.

The author put too much of her own voice into Jane, who ended up coming off as self-important. She disparaged the work of other authors while crediting her own work. (Granted, if Jane was that way, it would be allowed because her novels are just that worthy, but she wasn't)
Julie Bestry
Jan 15, 2012 Julie Bestry rated it really liked it
Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine's Guide To Life could have been better, but it could have been much, much worse. It's categorized as fiction, but it's really literary analysis crossed with advice/philosophy couched as fictional cross-dimensional communication. But not quite.

The premise is not exactly simple. The author is writing as Jane Austen, in her own time. She's prescient and I guess omniscient. She knows of the 20th/21st century -- TV and movie adaptations of her book, the internet, popular t
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Bookworm
Apr 27, 2010 Bookworm rated it really liked it
Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine's Guide to Life and Love is a fun little book that is written in the voice of Jane Austen giving advice on love and life to current day females. This book made me smile, it's a well written tribute to Jane Austen that I think most fans of hers would enjoy.

The book starts in 1816 where Jane Austen is finishing off the last sentence of Persuasion when her niece comes in with letters for her. Women write to Jane asking her for advice on life and love.
Jane gives some so
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Noordiana
Dec 08, 2014 Noordiana rated it it was ok
Jane Austen receives letters from 21st century heroines-in-training seeking advice on friends, family, marriage and such. She responds by making references to characters in her novels, and sometimes her own family and experience. The letter-writing is interspersed with interactions between Jane and her siblings and nieces who come to visit (it seems to be an especially busy day at Chawton Cottage).
This 'novel' (it is labelled as fiction) did not live up to my expectations. The blurb and author'
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Sarah
Aug 12, 2015 Sarah rated it it was ok
There is very little wrong with Patrice Hannon's "Dear Jane Austen", but still less is right. First, there's the fact its cover claims its fiction, and the back cover speaks of a compelling drama play[ing] out in Austen's drawing room". That promise never materializes; the book teaches no more about Austen than one can learn from a Wikipedia biography and a few blog posts. It's definitely not a novel, but nor is it criticism. While it contains some interesting insights into Austen's craft and ...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Apr 18, 2009 JG (The Introverted Reader) rated it liked it
Recommended to JG (The Introverted Reader) by: Pat
Imagine, if you will, that Jane Austen can somehow receive letters from her modern-day readers, asking for her sage advice in love and marriage. That's the premise for this charming little book.

Part "autobiography", part self-help book, and part critical analysis, Dear Jane Austen is full of practical advice for all women, no matter what era they're living in. Told in a tone that is mostly pitch-perfect, Austen weighs in on topics ranging from beauty to friends and family, to sex. The only thing
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Traci
Feb 16, 2010 Traci rated it liked it
I enjoyed the wit with which the author answered modern relationship dilemmas as Jane Austen. I think she got the "voice" spot on. I also enjoyed the relevance that this book displayed - Jane Austen's heroines do have a lot to teach modern women! My main disappointment was the book being rather like an expanded paper one would write in a university lit class - very thorough and well-done, an "A" grade, but perhaps not as accessible or entertaining as it could be in the literary world at large, ...more
Ana T.
Jan 30, 2008 Ana T. rated it really liked it
The full title of this book is Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine's Guide to Life and Love.

I first decided to buy it because I've been in a Jane Austen mood lately - movies of her books, her books, books about her, anything goes... - and I thought this one might be interesting.

The book contains a series of letters from contemporary women to Jane Austen about their love problems. And Jane Austen answers using examples from her heroine's lives and making smart comments about today's habits regarding love
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Mary
Mar 16, 2008 Mary rated it really liked it
From my days of being an English Lit major, I enjoy reading essays about the books that I have read. Reading this book is like reading a thesis about Jane Austen's heroines and their applicability to the modern day woman with a fun twist. The twist is that it is written in letter format. There are a series of "Dear Abby" type letters from fictional modern women written to Austen herself. Austen answers the questions using the examples of her heroines to make her points. I thoroughly enjoyed it ...more
Shannon
Sep 02, 2011 Shannon rated it liked it
It's a book with a great premise: what if Jane Austen was Dear Abby and dispensing dating advice to modern women? It falls short when it takes itself just a little to seriously and tries to work in too many details about Jane's life as well as all the dating advice straight out of Austen's novels.

It's worth a read if you're looking for extremely light reading, but feels like it was written by someone looking to show off just how much she knows about Jane Austen's life and works. The book is a li
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Allanna
Mar 24, 2008 Allanna rated it really liked it
A cute concept of Jane Austen meets Dear Abby ...

What advice would Jane Austen give to would-be heroines today for their lives?

Hannon writes as Austen, responding to letters containing modern-day problems. What would Austen say to the idea of cohabitation? What books would she recommend? What if a woman is reaching spinsterhood?

There are quotes from all of Austen's books, nicely summed-up morals/guidelines, and a warm-sisterly feel to this book. I found it very sweet and would love it if my chil
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Kathy McC
Apr 07, 2008 Kathy McC rated it liked it
Author has a PhD in English literature with an emphasis on the novels of Jane Austen. This book is a light-hearted look at Austen's most colorful heroines and their relevance to the current dating trends.
Hannon does a great job of capturing Austen's writing style. Her inclusion of details from a variety of Austen novels adds to the book's enlightening nature. "Despite the enormous changes in our external conditions, human nature is still as it was then and Austen's novels are an excellent sour
...more
Amanda
Nov 15, 2009 Amanda rated it it was ok
I liked the idea of this book, a Jane Austen as advice columnist format, answering modern day questions about romance (such as, should I marry the guy I love with the crap job or the wealthy guy who is in love with me?). The author obviously knows all of Jane's works inside and out; for each bit of advice she backs it up with direct reference to multiple scenarios from multiple works, and each aspect of every question was discussed very thoroughly. However, her writing style felt a bit too ...more
Shannon
Apr 22, 2009 Shannon rated it really liked it
Shelves: jane-austen
Patrice Hannon knows Jane Austen. Her tone and manners in the book are spot on, and amusing. It's an interesting way to critique Jane Austen's work and make it accessible to the modern reader. What I particularly liked was the view she takes that Austen's heroines appeal and are likable because they overcome their illusions about life and make happy endings based on reality instead of illusion (though I think getting the rich guy and the guy you lost years ago are still on the romantic side). It ...more
Kari
Aug 27, 2010 Kari rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: I wouldn't.
I bought this online and from the review it looked like it could be a cute book. Turns out it was not very well written or organized. The premise is that Jane Austen is writing letters of advise from her time period to modern day girls with modern day problems. It could have been enjoyable or even funny, but instead it ended up contrived, over written and at times did not even flow. Over all, I was very disappointed in this one.
Wendy
Jul 09, 2009 Wendy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Austen fans
Dear Jane Austen has the famous authoress answering "Dear Abby" style letters from modern readers, referencing her own works (including the juvenilia and the unpublished works) and their characters to illustrate her advice in matters of life, love, and general behaviour.

Patrice Hannon has an impressive grasp of Austen's works, and the response letters capture her voice and her character brilliantly.
Katie
Apr 25, 2008 Katie rated it liked it
Well, if you're an Austen fan, I think you'd enjoy this book...

It's written in Jane's voice, as she responds to letters from modern-day women. She cites her books and characters as she answers questions about love, marriage, and friendship. It's cute, an easy read, and lets you reminisce about your experiences reading Austen's books and meeting her characters.


Mirah W
Sep 17, 2011 Mirah W rated it it was ok
I thought the idea was good...modern women writing "Dear Abby" type letters to Jane Austen...however, I felt most of the responses were drawn out a little too long...I did enjoy the chapter on a Heroine in the World...I thought the asides where Jane was speaking to members of her family were unnecessary. But, the writer obviously knows her Jane Austen novels and characters.
Cheryl
May 05, 2015 Cheryl rated it liked it
An interesting exploration of the philosophy underlying so much of Austen's writing. I loved all the excerpts from the book. And I was impressed with the way the author captured Jane Austen's voice and tidbits of her life in the story around the advice letters she wrote. All in all, a great illustration of the reality of Austen's characters and the universality of her plot lines.
Amy
Apr 03, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jeanette
I think this book is better for teenagers about 16 and up. Although I did find many things that were interesting and lots of useful advice. It took a long time to read, but I have never read anything from Jane Austen so it took a while to get used to the language. It definitly made me want to read the books that she wrote.
Alyssa
Jul 29, 2011 Alyssa rated it liked it
I like this book for what it is, an attempt to answer a modern women's question with the wit and wisdom of Jane Austen. It does this passably well. I brought this with me on vacation and it did give me a few giggles. It is definitely not a deep-read, but when the author hits the right notes it is very enjoyable.
Amy
Jun 06, 2009 Amy rated it did not like it
The only reason I gave this one star is more me than the book. I have always struggled with pieces like those of Austen. I like to the point and I start daydreaming when reading 3 pages of fluffy text that could be condensed into one paragraph. I know that if you enjoy that sort of literature you would probably really like this book. I did like the idea of it. Very clever.
Molly
Apr 18, 2016 Molly rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
When I picked this up I was expecting a fun read in the voice of Jane Austen, but I found this book far too academic for my taste. The author certainly knows her Jane Austen, but I was expecting something a little more lighthearted. So, I guess I would say it was okay, but I really didn't like it very much.
Jenny
Nov 28, 2009 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thoughtful-reads
I loved this! Not only does the author put forth some good advice regarding life's situations but the author really give a lot of insight into each character, their motives, their flaws, why they are a heroine or not. I really enjoyed also the hints towards Jane Austen's life as well. I loved this so much I plan on giving copies to my family!
Brindi
I found the author's writing style similar to Austen's. The idea of Jane writing to her devoted readers, answering questions and pulling advice from her novels was quite creative and amusing. But we all know already how much we can learn from Austen's fancies :)
Gabrielle Link
Aug 21, 2013 Gabrielle Link rated it it was amazing
I really love how she wrote this. This is so for new fans and old fans of Jane Austen, Because I can see Jane writing to her fans. With so many fans I can see her sitting down, and hand writing to each of her fans. Loving each letter that she opens and reads!
Amanda
Jan 24, 2008 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this. If Jane Austen had written an advice column, it would have been much like this. Sound advice wittily given, with an understanding of human nature.
I was inspired to get out my Austen novels and start re-reading to refamiliarize myself with some minor characters.
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Patrice Hannon is the author of Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine’s Guide to Life and Love (Plume, 2007) and 101 Things You Didn’t Know About Jane Austen (Adams Media, 2007). The latter won the Jane Austen’s Regency World Award for “Best New Regency Know-How Book,” presented by The Jane Austen Centre in Bath. Patrice holds a B.A. from Saint Peter’s College and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University, both in ...more
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“Jane austen says: a heroine has pride despite her imperfections.” 3 likes
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