CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT

Laurie Rigler

 After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman’s life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her love of Jane Austen has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England,

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 After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?

Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman’s life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her love of Jane Austen has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condomless seducers, and marriages of convenience. Enter the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who fills Courtney’s borrowed brain with confusing memories that are clearly not her own.

Try as she might to control her mind and find a way home, Courtney cannot deny that she is becoming this other woman—and being this other woman is not without its advantages: Especially in a looking-glass Austen world. Especially with a suitor who may not turn out to be a familiar species of philanderer after all.

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  • Plume Books
  • Paperback
  • May 2008
  • 304 Pages
  • 9780452289727

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About Laurie Rigler

 Laurie Rigler is a freelance book editor who teaches writing workshops, including classes at Vroman’s, Southern California’s oldest and largest independent bookstore. She graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a B.A. in Classics.

Praise

“A rich, saucy lark of a book for all of us who have ever looked at our lives and marveled, ‘How did I get here?'” —Marisa de los Santos, author of Love Walked In

“You don’t have to be a rabid fan of Jane Austen to enjoy Laurie Viera Rigler’s entertainingly funny love story. A fun read.” —Social Life Magazine

“This is a delightful comic romp…Jane Austen makes a cameo appearance that is pure pleasure.” —New Orleans Times-Picayune

“[A]musingly neurotic…Time travel in novels is not new, but Rigler uses it to explore some decidedly modern concerns about personal identity.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Discussion Questions

Would you have handled things differently if you found yourself in Courtney’s/Jane’s situation? Which things would you have done differently? Which things would you have done the same?

How does Courtney/Jane use Jane Austen’s novels as a means of making sense of her world? Have you ever turned to your favorite books or films for inner strength, guidance, or comfort?

How do you interpret the ending of the book?

Aside from the societal restrictions on a woman’s mobility, career choices, and living arrangements that Courtney/Jane faced in 1813, have parental, peer, and personal attitudes toward unmarried women fundamentally changed since Jane Austen’s day?

One of the ways in which Courtney/Jane defines herself is by what she reads. To what extent do we define ourselves by what we read? To what extent do we form our opinions of others based on what they read?

Like Courtney/Jane, have you ever found yourself in a situation where your very concept of who you are was fundamentally challenged?

What are the things you think you would enjoy the most about being in Jane Austen’s world? What are the things you might find particularly challenging? Is there anything in the contemporary world that you absolutely could not do without?

If it were possible for you to be someone in Jane Austen’s world, who would you wish to be? Would you prefer a round-trip ticket to that world, or one-way only?