Title: Jane Austen Ruined My Life
Author: Beth Pattillo
Release Date: February 3, 2009
Publisher: Guidepost Books
Genre: Chick Lit, Travel
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Emma Grant’s life is in shambles. She has left her husband, Edward, after she discovered him cheating on her with one of her teaching assistants. To make matters even worse, she doesn’t even have her job as an English professor to fall back on because said teaching assistant accused Emma of plagiarism, and Edward chose to support his lover rather than his wife.
Humiliated and disgraced, Emma flees to England in order to settle a score with none other than Jane Austen herself. After all, Jane made Emma believe in true love and happy endings, and it’s clear that real life delivers on none of those idealistic promises. Additionally, Emma believes she may have clues to the whereabouts of a gold mine for her career – some of Jane Austen’s lost letters. As she gets more involved in the search for these letters and reunites with Adam, her former best friend who is more handsome than ever, Emma begins to realize that the happy endings aren’t enough – it’s living for yourself that is the most important.
Beth Pattillo’s novel is the latest in a wave of the Jane Austen craze that has been sweeping the literary world. From sequels to retellings, this entire genre has become a real force in the last few years. Jane Austen Ruined My Life is different than a lot of these – it is about a women who embarks on a quest of self-discovery without even realizing it. Though there aren’t a lot of references to Austen’s actual novels in this book, it’s a great resource for casual readers who want to know more about Jane Austen but aren’t up for committing to an entire biography.
Jane Austen Ruined My Life was also a wonderful book to read after having traveled to England. Though I only visited a few places mentioned in the novel, it was wonderful to revisit the country that I enjoyed so much. Pattillo uses precise details in order to convey the atmosphere of each place that Emma visits. Whether you’ve visited the country or not, this book will create pictures in your imagination that will make you dream of traveling!
The ending of Jane Austen Ruined My Life is a little bit disappointing. Though I won’t go into the specifics because I don’t want to ruin it for readers, I had trouble understanding why Emma chose to do what she did. It just didn’t make a lot of sense, which meant that I had trouble identifying with Emma. Additionally, there are a lot of plot holes where the letters are concerned. This is one of those novels you can’t think about too much or it will lessen your overall enjoyment of the book.
Jane Austen Ruined My Life was a fun read. While it was by no means perfect, it’s an enjoyable chick lit novel that any fan of the Austen revival will enjoy.