Sunday, September 5, 2010

Jane Austen ruined my life


PATTILLO, BETH
JANE AUSTEN RUINED MY LIFE

English professor Emma Grant has always done everything just the way her minister father told her she should -- a respectable marriage, a teaching job at a good college, and plans for the requisite two children. Life was prodigiously good, as her favorite author Jane Austen might say, until the day Emma finds her husband in bed with another woman. Suddenly, all her romantic notions a la Austen are exposed for the foolish dreams they are.

Denied tenure in the wake of the scandal and left penniless by the ensuing divorce, Emma packs up what few worldly possessions she has left and heads to England on a quest to find the missing letters of Jane Austen. Locating the elusive letters, however, isn't as straightforward as Emma hoped. The owner of the letters proves coy about her prize possessions, sending Emma on a series of Austen-related tasks that bring her closer and closer to the truth, but the sudden reappearance of Emma's first love makes everything more complicated.

In the end, Emma learns that doing the right thing has very little to do with other people's expectations and everything to do with her own beliefs. Laced with fictional excerpts from the missing letters, Jane Austen Ruined My Life is the story of a woman betrayed who uncovers the deeper meaning of loyalty.

SCHOLARS ESTIMATE THAT JANE AUSTEN WROTE OVER THREE THOUSAND LETTERS IN HER LIFE TIME. ALMOST ALL OF THEM WERE DESTROYED AT HER DEATH IN ORDER TO PROTECT HER PRIVACY...BUT WHAT IF MORE HAVE SURVIVED THE PASSAGE OF TIME THEN WE THINK? THE PLOT OF JANE AUSTEN RUINED MY LIFE IS BUILT UPON THIS UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE.

THE DELICIOUSLY MYSTERIOUS TASKS THAT EMMA IS GIVEN IN ORDER TO PROVE HERSELF TO THE FORMIDABLES, A SECRET JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, TAKE THE READER ON A TOUR OF AUSTEN'S ENGLAND. BUT IT'S EMMA'S PERSONAL STRUGGLES THAT COME TO THE FOREFRONT DURING HER AUSTEN PILGRIMAGE THAT REALLY CAUGHT -- AND KEPT -- MY ATTENTION.

PATTILLO HAS CREATED MEMORABLE CHARACTERS -- INCLUDING THE FLAMBOYANT FORMIDABLE, MRS. PARROT. AND THEN THERE'S ADAM -- THE PERFECT, LONG-SUFFERING HERO. POOR ADAM, HE DOESN'T QUITE GET HIS HAPPILY EVER AFTER -- MORE HAPPILY EVER HOPE. I'D LOVE A SEQUEL THAT SORTS THAT OUT!

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