04 September 2010

Everything Austen II - Jane Austen Ruined my Life -Beth Pattillo

Summary: Professor Emma Grant had always believed in happily-ever-after. After all, Jane Austen and her parents were proof enough of that. But in the place of a moment, she realizes that her dream marriage was a sham and to add insult to injury, her husband and his lover ruin her academic career in one fell swoop. Who do you blame - Jane Austen of course. She taught us to believe in Elizabeth marrying Darcy at the end of the Pride & Prejudice. Lured to England with promises of letters that might resurrect her academic career, Emma has nothing else to do but try. 

Comments (some spoilers): Having an academic life (14 years - good lord have I been that long in higher education?), I know unfortunately, how things work. I know what tenured faculty can be (though thankfully only a VERY few) and I know how manipulative graduate students can be - I was one after all in this country and in England. 
Emma begins her story like this, "Most of all, I'm going to England to prove there is no such thing as a happy ending. And that I was a fool to think I could ever have one." Ouch - what a way to start. 
But philosophically, hasn't Miss Austen ruined us all to some degree. It largely turns out for the best for her heroines; they marry for love, not money, though some of them get both (think Lizzy Bennet), but that's not the real world.
I enjoyed the book. I liked the idea of Emma's story coming thorough slowly and the details not just being dumped in my lap at the beginning. The Formidables - what a hoot -- I only wish they do exist... maybe they do and are waiting for me to worthy of their work. 

I quibble with one minor thing and one maybe not so minor. Minor things - Starbucks ... over  and over  - no one goes to the bloody pub? Come on - I lived there - we drink beer at lunch. No pub visit at all? This is not the England I know. 
Okay - not major, but certainly not minor - page 44 - Adam and Emma visit Kenwood Park and Adam wonders if it  could be an inspiration for an Austen house such as Pemberley, Rosings, or Mansfield Park, to which Emma replies, "Not Mansfield Park ... Austen never really describes it, not the way she does other houses. But I can't image a family like the Rushworths living in someplace this elegant."  The Rushworths... um,  perhaps the Bertrams instead. 

Over all -- fun read, love the Formidables and of course Adam (but dear lord who wouldn't?), but Emma better get back to him soon (I'm not kidding).  Can't wait for the next book... Mr. Darcy broke my Heart.


  1. Terrific review! I too loved Adam and wished the Formiddables were real!

  2. Great review!! I enjoyed this book as well and really need to read Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart!


Have your say if you must.

Don't be rude.