Susan's Reviews > Jane Austen Ruined My Life

Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo
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Mar 27, 09

Read in February, 2009

This is a review I did for The Tennessean--unfortunately, I think they've stopped accepting freelance reviews, at least, I deduced that since no one has officially notified me. I think the newspaper's in a state of disarray right now, along with so many others. But I decided, since I spent the time to write it, why let it go to waste?

Jane Austen, author of so many books about love, but herself presumably untouched by the emotion, actually had a grand, tragic passion that she poured out in letters to her sister, Cassandra. Now those letters, long thought to have been destroyed by the faithful sister, have miraculously appeared. Such is the premise, designed to cause all true Austenites to swoon with delight, presented by Beth Patillo in her new novel.

Emma Grant, clergyman’s daughter and Austen scholar, is determined to throw off her lifelong dedication to the author after her own romantic ideals are dashed by an unfaithful husband. While nursing both a broken heart and a ruined career, Emma receives a mysterious message from a woman in London, claiming to possess hitherto unpublished letters written by Jane to her sister. She dashes off to England on a mission to refurbish her career while at the same time hoping to expose Austen as a fraud, but finds herself tangled in a plot strangely reminiscent of a romantic novel.

Pattillo obviously knows her Austen history and landmarks and navigates the reader delightfully through such locations as the church in Steventon and Bath Assembly Rooms. As she travels to these hallowed site, tantalizing bits of Austen’s past emerge.

Although the scenario is fascinating to the faithful, coincidences in the book stretch the limits of believability, as when Emma continually just happens to meet her love interests, in London, no less! The end of the book feels rushed and loose ends are not satisfactorily tied up, certainly not in tidy Austen fashion. However, the novel will appeal to true Jane Austen fans, if only for the well-researched details about her life and the delightful possibility that someday, it just might happen!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Aerinsword (new)

Aerinsword Susan!
This title cracks me up. And the cover is too funny, although I need to enlarge it to see the detail. I can see she has her fainting hanky in her limp hand.


Susan It looks like that woman on the opening part of Mystery, doesn't it? This book is one that the Tennessean sent me to read and review, so I should have a review coming out sometime in Feb. I hope it's as funny as the cover looks!


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