May 242012

“Falling in Love the Jane Austen Way!”

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

With The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Kantor, The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo, and The Jane Austen Guide to Life by Lori Smith all coming out this spring, it would appear that dear Jane Austen has departed from the Paranormal genre and taken up residence in the Self-Help and Relationships department! While some people may scoff at the idea of an unmarried country miss from the 1800’s dishing out relevant dating and relationship advice to the young female population of the twenty-first century, those who have had the pleasure of reading her novels know she is a veritable font of knowledge when it comes to relationships and happily ever afters…

How can Jane Austen’s advice and principals still be relevant today? Isn’t there some kind of cultural divide? Social barrier? Period gap?

In this informative and intelligent guide, Elizabeth Kantor astutely illustrates the many lessons in love, relationships, marriage, and sex that readers learn when they open a Jane Austen novel. Lessons applicable to young Regency maidens, as well as modern-day single ladies, such as: discern his intentions (a.k.a. Is he as into you as you are into him?) or avoid unprincipled men (in other words, if you see any red flags, run!) I took pleasure in how Elizabeth Kantor cited examples from Jane Austen’s novels and characters and entwined them with modern-day realities and situations. Yes, some things are different between Jane Austen’s world and ours, but “in essentials” relationships and people have altered little.

Dispersed throughout this expansive analysis and perceptive study of human nature and matters of the heart are useful little “Tips for Janeites.” And at the close of each chapter, zeroing in on all the important matter discussed therein, are little reminders, summarizations, and credos that are helpful to any Janeite looking for her happily ever after. These concise and clever words of advice were a very effective way of breaking up the text, which sometimes became a little too dense.

Without a doubt, Elizabeth Kantor did some comprehensive and meticulous research and analysis when she penned this guide. Using a wide variety of sources, studies, and literature, Ms. Kantor was very thorough in her examination of relationships and love, even going so far as to touch upon sociological theories and psychological behaviors. My one tiny quibble is that perhaps sometimes the prose became a little too textbook-like, too scholarly. And with almost eighty pages of endnotes – which, while very clever and amusing, created a little bit of inconvenience when one had to flip to the back of the book constantly – this book sometimes read more like an academic study than a self-help guide.

Whether you are married to your own Mr. Darcy or still searching for your happily ever after, this guide will be of use to you! Relationships are Jane Austen’s specialty and Elizabeth Kantor adeptly illustrates how any modern-day woman can learn valuable life lessons when she studies the successful and ill-fated relationships found in Jane Austen’s novels!
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  4 Responses to “The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After – Elizabeth Kantor”


    I remember The Rules from the 80s. At least the new crop of Austen-based advice has some basis in what’s worked in the past.

    I would love to know what Jane would say about breaking up via email or text.


      Hi Susan! Ms. Kantor often referred to The Rules in her book and compared them to Jane Austen’s “Original” Rules.

      Haha! I think she would definitely frown upon breaking up by email or text, and probably only let character like Willoughby do that in her novels.


    as a current “Janeite looking for her happily ever after’ i am happy to read this would be “helpful to any” of us!
    the concept is great and the research definitley sounds like Elizabeth is well qualified to write inclusively. As you say, ” I took pleasure in how Elizabeth Kantor cited examples from Jane Austen’s novels and characters and entwined them with modern-day realities and situations.” This sounds like where the fun comes in!

    thx for sharing this with us, Meredith! looking forward to a practical JA read with real life implications 🙂


      Thank you so much for stopping by, Sharon! Elizabeth did some fantastic research and ground work for this book! I feel like it must’ve taken her a couple years just in reading all these books, articles, and studies!

      I hope you enjoy reading this book when you get the chance!

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