Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Gift from Friend 🙂
Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a Jane Austen’s voice in your head? Wouldn’t you just love to have Jane Austen in your subconscious, speaking to you, being your secret friend? I know I would! Going through my adolescent years would have been infinitely more bearable! But alas, we cannot all be as fortunate as Ellie Barnett, who from the age of fifteen has had Jane Austen’s voice in her head.
Ever since Ellie’s teacher assignedPride and Prejudice as their next reading assignment, Jane Austen has taken up residence in Ellie’s mind. And Ellie is most thankful to have her there! Over the years Jane has helped her avoid all the Wickhams in her life, laughed with her at all the Collinses she encounters, and encouraged her in her quest to find a Mr. Darcy. But now, at the age of thirty-four and still single, Ellie starts to wonder: Where is her Mr. Darcy? Are there any left? Or is the world just comprised of various versions of Wickhams and Collinses?
Boy, did I love this novel!! I have been anticipating reading According to Jane for a long time, and let me just say, it has lived up to my expectations and heartily deserves all the praise it has received! According to Jane is a magnificent coming of age story about self-discovery, following your heart, and finding your own “perfect happiness.” I loved the main character, Ellie Barnett, she is intelligent, low maintenance, strong, and sarcastic. In addition, I loved the way her story was told. Marilyn Brant intricately weaves stories from Ellie’s past with scenes in her present. I thought the interspersion of these flashbacks was a clever and effective way to reveal Ellie’s past love life and history.
And what about the men in Ellie’s life, you ask? Poor Ellie has had a mixed bag of unfortunate relationships – cheaters, commitment-phobics, leeches, etc. Yet, the relationship that seems to have left the deepest scars is Ellie’s experience with her high school arch nemesis, Sam Blaine, the boy who taunted and infuriated her. I found Sam Blaine to be a intriguing and complex character and just like Ellie, I fell for him hard! We always fall for the bad boys, don’t we? Especially when they are charming, intelligent, confident, and provoking! Jane Austen, on the other hand, did not approve of Sam Blaine and frequently called him “insufferable” and a “Wickham!”
I was enthralled by this lovely and realistic tale about finding yourself and waiting for your own Mr. Darcy. I loved the connections to Jane Austen’s novels, characters, and the idea of having Jane Austen in your head (*if only!*) Marilyn Brant is one of my new favorite authors! I can’t wait to delve into her other two novels, Friday Mornings at Nine and A Summer in Europe!
Note: I would recommend this novel for Mature Audiences. There are a few intimate scenes and some profanity.