Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict
by Laurie Viera Rigler (Author),
Kate Reading (Narrator)
Audible Audio Edition[Unabridged]
Listening Length: 9 hours and 23 minutes
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Audible.com Release Date: June 25, 2009
Purchased by blogger.
The eagerly anticipated sequel to Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict
Laurie Viera Rigler’s debut novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, was a hit with fans and critics, and a BookSense andLos Angeles Times bestseller. Its open-to-interpretation ending left readers begging for more—and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict delivers. While Confessions took twenty-first-century free spirit Courtney Stone into the social confines of Jane Austen’s era, Rude Awakenings tells the parallel story of Jane Mansfield, a gentleman’s daughter from Regency England who inexplicably awakens in Courtney’s overly wired and morally confused L.A. life.
For Jane, the modern world is not wholly disagreeable. Her apartment may be smaller than a dressing closet, but it is fitted up with lights that burn without candles, machines that wash bodies and clothes, and a glossy rectangle in which tiny people perform scenes from her favorite book, Pride and Prejudice. Granted, if she wants to travel she may have to drive a formidable metal carriage, but she may do so without a chaperone. And oh, what places she goes! Public assemblies that pulsate with pounding music. Unbound hair and unrestricted clothing. The freedom to say what she wants when she wants—even to men without a proper introduction.
Jane relishes the privacy, independence, even the power to earn her own money. But how is she to fathom her employer’s incomprehensible dictates about “syncing a BlackBerry” and “rolling a call”? How can she navigate a world in which entire publications are devoted to brides but flirting and kissing and even the sexual act itself raise no matrimonial expectations? Even more bewildering are the memories that are not her own. And the friend named Wes, who is as attractive and confusing to Jane as the man who broke her heart back home. It’s enough to make her wonder if she would be better off in her own time, where at least the rules are clear—that is, if returning is even an option. Penguin.com/read
I am “all astonishment” about how much I enjoyed this book; how cleverly it poses it’s questions, and the general excellence of the narration by Kate Reading. Kate totally nailed Jane/Courtney and was especially spot on with Depra, Jane/Courtney’s British friend of Indian descent who moved to California. I was totally convinced it was a completely separate person reading that part; the intonation, the slight modulation to the rhythm and timbre graced by Deepra’s Indian parents’ accent. It is uncanny. The men’s voices are a little less successful.
But, where I was intrigued by but disappointed in the other book in the series, CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT, I was impressed and thrilled with this one. I missed the heat of Romances I usually read, but, how could you put any sex into this character’s life without her total devastation at her personal fault.
The story is of Jane Mansfield, denizen of the early 19th century hitting her head at the same time Courtney hits hers and they come to in each others consciousness. The first book was about Courtney waking in Janes body and this is Jane M. waking in Courtney’s in Los Angeles. “Jane Mansfield” is a moniker with significance in both times.
I did wonder how the writer would pull off sending Jane’s consciousness to reside in Courtney’s 21st century body. After all, in the first book when Courtney takes up residence in Jane’s 1813 life, she has some idea of what to expect. But, 1813 residents wouldn’t have the backstory that would allow simple understanding of modern life. Fortunately, she is an intelligent woman.
But, while technology is daunting, it is morality and sexual relationships that cause her the most discombobulation. She looks at the marriage industry of today and doesn’t see that, fundamentally, it is that different from her time. She sees that women, and men have more choices, but that the swirlingly permissive morality sets an altogether different standard. There are self-help books that describe the minutiae of relationship and the who, whats, whens and hows just as there were chaperones and advice books in her time.
She feels the permissiveness of the time shows a lack of respect for oneself and the other person having sex. And, even though I grew up during the sexual revolution, I can see things from Jane’s perspective and how much sense it makes. Of course, the author makes the other argument as well. Birth Control has changed a lot but below that worry is there more to those old values than we would like to think? Or have we really changed all that much?
This is effectively presented with a nicely written story and the narration really brought it to life. I found it better written, narrated and thought-provoking. I enjoyed it much more than I did the first book. It is a rare case where the second book out shines the first. Highly recommend.