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Posts Tagged ‘Laurie Viera Rigler’

Gentle Readers: Don’t forget to join my book giveaway of Laurie Viera Rigler’s paperback version of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. This is a rather fun contest on Jane Austen Today. You have until mid day on May 8th. Please click on link to enter!

My review sits here.

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Update! The paperback edition of this novel is available at this link.

I became hooked on time travel stories watching Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. Then I read Jude Devereux’s Knight in Shining Armor and fell so in love with the characters and improbable plot that I began to actively seek out time travel novels. I discovered from reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and watching the recent television presentation of Lost in Austen that I prefer stories that take a character back in history over those in which a person is transported to our time. This is simply a matter of taste. So I beg of you, gentle reader, to keep my little bias in mind as you read this review of Laurie Viera Rigler’s latest book, whose cover of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict appropriately depicts a Regency woman wearing an ipod.

Rude Awakening of a Jane Austen Addict Having traveled back to the Regency era in Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Courtney Stone is now living Jane Mansfield’s life. It happened like this: One evening, the very American, extremely modern Courtney is grieving over the end of her engagement to a cad and the betrayal of her best male friend, Wes. The next morning she wakes up in Regency England in the body of a tall, elegant woman whose relationship with her mother can best be described as rotten. Confessions ended with Courtney falling in love with Jane’s beau, Mr. Edgeworth, and overcoming the inconvenience of living without indoor plumbing or electricity. But if Courtney has taken over Jane Mansfield’s body and life, what became of her regency counterpart?

In Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict the reader discovers that poor Jane Mansfield has been transported into Courtney’s shorter, curvier body after a fall from a horse and has landed smack dab in a modern apartment in Los Angeles. Horror of horrors, nothing that Jane has ever known is recognizable in this strange environment, nothing except for Pride and Prejudice. The 1995 A&E version is playing on television as Jane examines her strange surroundings. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are mere illusions but Jane confuses their ethereal transmissions for the real thing. She is rapturous when she comes across Jane Austen’s novels on Courtney’s bookshelves, happily discovering that more were published than the two she’d known about. The books provide her with her first emotional security blanket, for up to that moment everything Jane has seen, heard, and touched in this new world has been surreal and mind-boggling. As Jane says to a fortune teller who helps her sort out her confusion, “If I am not asleep, how can I be anything but awake?”

One imagines that Courtney had a much easier time adjusting to the past, for she’d been a Jane Austen addict, and had had the opportunity to study the regency era in history books and novels. Poor Jane Mansfield had no such knowledge about 2009, for who in 1813 could have forecast the invention of microwave ovens, cars, cell phones, planes, elevators, high rise buildings, computers, refrigerators, and – wonder of wonders – efficient showers and toilets? And then there were the clothes. How was a self-respecting Regency Miss supposed to wear those indecently skimpy outfits and hoydenish makeup that her new friends put on without blushing?

modern la

Thankfully, Courtney’s body has retained a visceral 21st-century memory of dressing, driving and using appliances, giving Jane some time to recover her equilibrium and sort out her bewildering surroundings. When life becomes too crushing for her, she happily hunkers down to read Emma or Mansfield Park, or watch the marvelous movie adaptations of Jane’s novels. Despite those few moments of bliss, there are still many modern customs that Jane must learn. She is both intrigued and appalled that women must work for a living, for isn’t this an activity reserved for working class women? And yet the working women she meets enjoy riches and freedoms that she could only dream about in her constricted regency world. Then there is the situation with her rotten ex-fiance and ex-best friend, Wes, whose gentle presence is at odds with the antipathy Jane’s new friends feel toward him. Wes is just the sort of Mark II hero that this reviewer loves – sweet, warm, cuddly, and handsome – and I rooted for him to win Jane’s hand despite the evidence of his betrayal.

Rude Awakenings ties up the plot threads left dangling in Confessions, and I was pleasantly surprised to have my many questions answered in a sensible way, especially about Jane’s terrible mother. Of the two books, I did prefer Confessions, but please do recall my bias towards those who travel backwards, not forwards. Having spent a satisfying couple of evenings reading this latest installment of Laurie’s series, I would like to see her write a third one in which the descendants of the Jane Austen Addict characters are united. In my imagined plot I see Courtney writing an extensive journal about her Regency experiences which languishes on the dusty shelves of an antique book seller for over 150 years. This document is discovered by Jane’s daughter, a confirmed Jane Austen addict and romance novelist. She visits England in 2034 in search of archived information about the Mansfield and Wentworth families after her mother confesses a few pertinent bits of information about her Regency past. During her quest, Jane’s daughter meets a haughty male descendant of Courtney’s, a handsome but priggish Jane Austen scholar, who discounts Courtney’s journal as the rantings of an insane relative. The two young descendants disagree, sparks fly, she suggests a DNA test, and they then …. well, use your imagination.

3 regency fansMeanwhile, I can think of no better way of spending a Sunday afternoon than to curl up in a hammock and read Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. Just make sure to have enough ice tea and sun screen at hand, for you won’t be able to put this gently humorous book down until you are finished. Three out of three Regency fans.

More links:

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Terrance Hill, author

Terrence Hill, author

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I can’t wait to finish Two Guys Read Jane Austen written by life long friends Steve Chandler and Terrence Hill. The beginning chapters, which combine biography,  insights, humor, and information, are quite promising and I feel confident that Terrence and Steve will answer my question: What do literate men think about Jane’s fabulous novels? Using an epistolary format, Steve and Terrence write their observations about Jane’s perennial best-seller Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park.

  • Read author Steve Chandler’s description of the book on his blog, iMindShift.

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We’ll place the instructions to enter our chatroom on this blog an hour before the chat! For more details, please click on this link.

Laurie Viera Rigler, author of the Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, was featured in the most recent edition of JASNA News, the newsletter of the Jane Austen Society of North America. The article described her love for all things Jane Austen and her articles in her blog, Jane Austen Addict. I was thrilled to note that Laurie’s article for Jane Austen Today, “Ten Ways to Cope Without the Complete Jane Austen Series“, was mentioned, and that links to our blogs, Jane Austen Today, Jane Austen’s World, and Austenprose, were also provided.

Speaking of JASNA, the annual meeting, which will be held in Chicago in early October, is full. This is bad news for procrastinators who were waiting to register, but great news for the society and proof positive that Jane Austen is more popular than ever. Click here for more JASNA News (although the article about Laurie is not available online).

Needless to say we were delighted to be mentioned in such a public forum. Please join Laurie and me in our Tuesday night discussion, 7 pm Pacific time and 10 pm EST!

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Laurie Viera Rigler will be giving away a paperback copy of the Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. All you need to do is make a comment on her guest post on Jane Austen Today. Click here to read her post, Ten Ways to Cope Without the Complete Jane Austen Series. Your suggestion might just be the winner!

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Laurie Viera Rigler, author of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Margaret C. Sullivan, author of the Jane Austen Handbook, have just completed their thoughts about Sense and Sensibility 2008. Click on PBS’s Remotely Connected to read their views.

Then tune in on PBS Sunday night at 9 P.M. to watch the movie on Masterpiece Classic. The film will be show in two parts on March 30th and April 6th.

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Today, Jane Austen is more popular than ever. Books, movie adaptations, sequels, and audio tapes are flooding the market. Her name is instantly recognizable, and her brand is HOT! Why not translate such fame into political glory?

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Image, Regency Fashions, The Republic of Pemberley

Laurie Viera Rigler, the author of the current bestseller, The Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, has been writing a series of informative posts about Jane Austen’s life and novels in conjunction with PBS’s Total Jane Austen. During a recent talk at Whittier Library in California, she discussed the idea of electing Jane Austen for President. According to her, Jane has character, experience, and courage. Her reasoning seems good enough for me:

If we go by the assumption that there is a little bit of the author in each of her characters—well, at least in each of the characters she likes—than who can lead the country better than someone who has the wit and intelligence of Elizabeth Bennet, the diplomacy of Anne Eliot, the prudence and strength of Elinor Dashwood, and the stay-the-course steadfastness of Fanny Price?

To read more of Laurie’s interesting political take, click here. Thank you Laurie, for giving me an alternative candidate. I was straddling the fence until you mentioned Jane.

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Imagine waking up in someone else’s body in another time period with no clue of how you got there or how you’ll make it back home. That’s the situation author Laurie Viera Rigler has set up in Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. One day our heroine Courtney Stone wakes up as Jane Mansfield, a 30-year-old spinster living in turn of the 19th Century England. The day before she was in Los Angeles nursing her hurt over a breakup with a lout of a boyfriend, and the next thing she knows she is confronted by a strict, harsh-eyed Regency mama who deplores her daughter’s unmarried state.

Laurie Viera Rigler takes us on a fun and frothy romp through the Regency period as our heroine encounters one bewildering situation after another trying to understand what’s happened to her and why. Readers who are expecting a time travel novel with the depth and breadth of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series might be disappointed in this book’s superficial fun. But the fans that adored Jude Devereaux’s Knight in Shining Armor or the time travel movies Somewhere in Time, Kate and Leopold, and Big will definitely have a rollicking good time.

The themes of intrigue, romance, and a fish out of water are fleshed out with the cultural shocks that our heroine experiences as she becomes accustomed to a world of chaperons, lack of running water, a cool and calculating mother, and unhygienic hostelries. What I found most interesting about this time travel book is that as Jane, Courtney looks entirely different. In her regency persona she is taller and prettier, and can embroider with the skill of an experienced seamstress. Although Courtney has all of Jane’s talents and some of her memories, her thoughts and emotions are rooted in the 21st century. This dichotomy places us firmly in the mind of our bewildered heroine, who as Courtney is exceedingly attracted to the suitor her alter ego Jane rejected. It doesn’t hurt that our hero, Charles, is as dapper as Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth.

There are a few problems of logic, as all time travel novels share. Jane’s strange behavior and lack of memory are explained away as the result of a fall from a horse. And although Courtney was an avid reader of Jane Austen’s novels, as Jane she has a hard time coming to grips with the lack of baths and ready-to-wear dresses and a tightly circumscribed world that is not as romantic as she had once thought.

As a reader who is interested in the Regency Era, I would also have loved to have read more details about dress, manners, interiors, and architecture. These were spare, but because of this economy of detail, the book moves along quickly. Frankly, I couldn’t put it down at times. I also have a confession to make: This is the first Jane Austen fan book or spin off that I have finished. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict is as light and pleasing as a summer sherbet, which, as we all know, is a perfect tonic for a hot summer day.

I give it three out of three regency fans

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Lady Anne is the most well read of our Janeites of the James group when reading about all things Austen, including Jane’s fan fiction. She has agreed to read Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and report on her impressions of this novel out in stores tomorrow. Lady Anne is one tough reader to please when it comes to any topic pertaining to the Regency Era. Faint praise from her is fine praise indeed. Here, then, is her review. Mine will arrive in a few short days.

Courtney Stone is a 30-ish single living in LA with a nothing job, a crummy apartment, and lousy taste in men. Like many in her situation, she obsesses over trivialities and takes solace in vodka and the occasional Xanax. But she finds her best relief from the woes of her life in re-reading Jane Austen. Jane Mansfield, a 30-ish single living in Regency England, lives at home with her harsh mother and vague, artistic father. Like many in her situation, she sees only misery and unhappiness before her. In her search for a way out, she consults a fortuneteller, who has apparently done a few terms at Hogwarts School, and who, in the aftermath of a riding accident, slips the very 21st century mind and psyche of Courtney into the body and life of the Regency Jane.

In the fairly predictable incidents that unfold, author Laurie Viera Rigler takes a clear look at the marrying money theme that runs through Austen’s books, as well as the realities of everyday living for the gentried classes and their servants. Courtney/Jane, while chafing against the chaperonage inflicted upon her, a little strict by 1813 for a woman of 30 even by Regency standards, learns to appreciate the fabric of the life she got so much comfort from reading about. It doesn’t hurt that Mr. Edgeworth, an eminently respectable suitor, is also charming and handsome, and everything she had looked for in a man, but couldn’t find in 21st Century LA. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict is a good summer read, and fun for every Jane Austen fan.

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