#65 Writing Jane Austen

When author Georgina Jackson, stalled after one chapter into her second book, is offered a lucrative opportunity by her agent to finish an incomplete Jane Austen manuscript, she has to face up to the fact that she has never read any Jane Austen. But she needs to have a job to stay in England and she needs money to pay her rent, so she buckles down to learn about one of England’s most famous authors and, in the process, learns about herself. A surrounding cast of charming characters (Henry, her landlord; his teenage sister, Maud; and Henry’s Polish housekeeper, Anna), all thunderstruck that Georgina has never read Austen, are eager to help her get the job done. Despite her best attempts to procrastinate, Georgina ends up with a real appreciation for Austen and a remarkable novel to call her own. Aston writes with appreciation and respect for Austen and great affection for her own characters. Austen derivatives have become their own genre, but Aston is doing something different. She’s written a witty page-turning love letter to Austen’s work. <source: Publishers Weekly>

People are obsessed with Jane Austen, especially in the States, and I must say it’s mainly due to many Hollywood movies and the hunks in the films. I’m not criticizing because I love Jane Austen as well. I used to prefer Bronte sisters but I really think I was going through a “dark phase” of my life and wanted something that appeared to be more deeper and mysterious. But then, I came to love more realistic characters of Jane Austen and I do really think it’s harder job to make everyday people seem fun and interesting (Jane Austen’s work) than to make peculiar and mysterious character seem…well, peculiar and mysterious (Bronte sisters).

With that said, though I didn’t much care for the plot itself in this book (it was mostly about writer’s block, struggle, insecurity, pride, etc.), I loved the “tour” of Jane Austen-related English sites I went on along with the book. It’s quite fun and entertaining, especially after reading Just Jane, a novel of Jane Austen’s life, and understanding her life back in the days. So if that sounds intriguing to you, I suggest you “pack up” your luggage and take a trip to England with Elizabeth Aston!

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