Courtney Stone is a certified Jane Austen addict. She owns all the books and sinks into them every time she needs comfort, entertainment, or love. When she wakes up in Regency England one morning, with the Austen-like name of Jane Mansfield, she is at first in shock, especially when she is threatened with a mental institution and bled to the point of weakness. Courtney/Jane recovers and begins to settle into Regency life with the addition of the extremely handsome and polite Mr. Edgeworth and his sister. She thinks she recognizes Mr. Edgeworth for what he is, a womanizer just like her ex-fiance who broke her heart by cheating on her. To get back home, Courtney realizes that she needs to unravel the secrets of Jane’s past, including her relationship with Edgeworth, and confront her own insecurities and problems with the men in her life.
I think I expected a little more out of this than I got. The beginning was a little disappointing. First of all, Courtney spends far too long in bed denying that she is actually Jane and fretting about how to get back into her old life, much less fit into this one. When she gets up she is perfectly capable of speaking English with a perfect English accent as well as sewing, dancing, and knowing which fork to use while eating. While this makes her transition easier, it made it harder for me to accept her complaining. Given that the premise of the book was her new life in the England of Jane Austen, Courtney spent far too much time being shocked. She can’t just settle in but I was impatient for the story to get going.
Luckily, I liked the book much better once Courtney got out of bed and assumed Jane’s life. Once that happened, I finally got pulled into the story. The mysteries surrounding the past of Jane and Edgeworth were interesting and I wanted to see why they’d fallen out. I liked Jane’s friend Miss Edgeworth and I enjoyed the development of her character over the course of the book. I also thought that the way Courtney’s memories were interspersed with her Regency life were well done; she reflected on her past at appropriate points and I was curious as to the resolution.
This was a fun, relaxing read. Courtney’s problems are never too threatening, and while we feel sorry for her, we’re pretty sure she’s getting her Happily Ever After. I enjoyed the romance between Courtney and Edgeworth and I wanted to know what had happened in the past so they could settle down for the future. Despite that, I thought the ending was, honestly, a bit of a cop-out, and let me down after what otherwise was a very entertaining story. I enjoyed the book enough, though, to be interested in checking out Ms. Rigler’s next book, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, which takes Jane Mansfield into Courtney Stone’s life. I have a feeling that with both stories resolved, my qualms about the first book will fade away, and I will have the ending that I really, really want.
Recommended for a light, fun read, especially for lovers of Jane Austen or historical fiction.