Jane Austen Ruined My Life, by Beth Pattillo (Guideposts Books)
Emma Grant blames Jane Austen for encouraging her to believe in happy endings. Happy endings are in short supply in Emma’s life. First she found her husband Edward and her teaching assistant in flagrante delicto, on her kitchen table, no less. Then the assistant, with the backing of now ex-hubby, accused Emma of plagiarism, destroying her career as an English lit professor.
Emma responds to this insult by fleeing to England to track down an alleged cache of previously undiscovered letters by Jane Austen.
In England, she runs straight into Adam, the former best friend who dropped out of her life when she married Edward. And she encounters an eccentric grandmotherly woman who claims to have access to an unimaginable treasure—thousands of letters by Jane Austen.
Beth Pattillo’s first novel (to be followed this February by Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart) is an entertaining, emotionally satisfying story. Emma Grant is an independent, likable heroine with a sense of humor and a set of scruples, keeping her true to the spirit of Austen.
Jane Austen Ruined My Life moves quickly, pays homage to Austen’s characters and stories without being totally predictable, and includes plenty of fun Austen biographical and historical tidbits. I’m looking forward to Pattillo’s second book.