Friday, August 02, 2013
Jane, Actually - wonderful summer book, GIVEAWAY of 4 copies!!!
Posted by JaneGS
I've read a fair number of Austen-inspired novels and stories over the years, but believe me when I say that Jennifer Petkus's contribution to the genre--Jane, Actually: or Jane Austen's Book Tour--is unique, inspired, and an awful lot of fun.
I strive to avoid providing synopses of books in my reviews as I figure that most people know these already or can easily find them out, but it's impossible to provide thoughts on this novel without doing so. In a nutshell, Jane Austen is back amongst us courtesy of the Afternet, which is a lot like the Internet but it also allows dead people (aka the disembodied) to communicate with each other and the living. She has an account that has been verified (much like how Twitter celebrity accounts are verified) by a panel of Austen experts, and she is on book tour promoting her completion of Sanditon.
Petkus does a marvelous job providing the disembodied Jane with a strong voice and a real personality--she can be funny, sympathetic, weary, egotistical, petty, loving, engaging, and wise in the way that only someone who has been a keen observer of life for the past 200+ years can be.
The people, mostly living but a few dead, who constitute her current world are equally real, from the anxiety-ridden publicist, to the conflicted avatar (yes, Jane needs an avatar because she has no corporeal body, and a young actress named Mary Crawford gets the role), to the lovelorn Kiplingesque Janeite who is chatting her up in Afternet chat rooms.
The tension is also real--will a nasty Austen scholar prove that our Jane is not, in fact, the Jane? Will Jane overcome her writer's block? Will all hell break loose at the Jane Austen Society Annual General Meeting?
The plot was fun and the characters engaging, but I think I most enjoyed just seeing the whole Austen industry from inside the fishbowl. I always say that Trekkies have nothing on Janeites and this book just goes to prove it.
I can think of no more perfect summer book than Jane, Actually. It's part sci-fi, part chick lit, and pure fun.
Thanks to the author, I am offering some giveaways. There are two paperbacks up for grabs, one for U.S. and one for international (non-U.S.), as well as two ebooks. I'll be taking entries for one week--until 8 pm MT on Friday, August 9. You get one entry for a comment (and please provide email, U.S. or international location, and whether you prefer paperback or ebook), and an additional entry if you also tweet about the giveaway (just let me know if you do tweet it).
Also, make sure you visit Jennifer Petkus's website for gobs of info on the book, Austen, and our wacky Janeite world.
BTW, the RoofBeamReader is hosting Austen in August - check it out for reviews, giveaways, etc.