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3 Stars Out Of 5
January 31, 2010
Patillos work is markedly contemporary and free from any Austen-esque stylings despite her clear esteem of Austens character, body of work, and personal correspondences. This delightful read is enhanced by previous familiarity with Austens work (nearly a requisite), and a basic grasp on the details of Austens life the better with which to sort fact from fiction. Patillos own visits to the historic Austen sites and throughout England are greatly appreciated in her careful sharing of architectural and landscape detail.As I have noted in my review of a previous Patillo novel, the author does incorporate some references to God and His carefully orchestrated plans, but doesnt include any signs of a personal relationship with Him or His Son in any of her characters. Emma is the daughter of a ministry family and refers to God as though He is a force of nature, but her decisions and morality are not depicted as being influenced by Him. That being said, Jane Austen Ruined My Life is still a good, clean read, free of both profanity and pre-marital intimacy (barring a few rather non-descript kisses.)Adam, Emmas friend from the past, is rather lacking in character, being limited to general friendliness and a variety of grins. This combined with other aspects of the budding romance left me generally unsatisfied by the books romantic tenor, leaving me more focused upon the focus on Jane Austen and the mystery of her letters. Another male character slips in and out of the story-line in what could have made a great sub-plot but is never developed or fully resolved.Still, I can credit this work with two late-night reading sessions, it was incredibly difficult to put down. This pleasant diversion for Austen devotees is a pleasantly diversionary way to spend the long, dark, cold winter nights.
If you're a fan of Jane Austen, this is a great, family friendly book. English professor Emma Douglas being raised by a minister has little to do with this story, other than the camaraderie she feels with Jane Austin, being raised by a Pastor also.<br /></br >It's a somewhat 'fun' read. But if you are looking forward to a Christian fiction story... Sadly, God is left out.
This novel is a "What could have happened?" type of story dealing with Jane Austen and her long lost letters. Fans and researchers of Austen have always been devastated to hear that Austen's sister burned a majority of her letters. Imagine what a huge break into Jane Austen's life and personality it would be if those letters one day turned up? This book totally gave me the feel of being in Britain as the descriptions of the towns and cities made them come to life. British culture is very unique and as a reader, you can tell research had gone into making the story very authentic. You feel for Emma throughout the book. Every time she mentioned what happened with her ex husband, you feel her pain. The scenes with Mrs. Parrot and learning about the Formidables was probably one of the coolest scenes ever written for Jane Austen fans. I think if I had been in Emma's place at that point and held an authentic real Jane Austen letter, I would be freaking out. My favorite scenes in the book are when Emma goes to the sites where Jane Austen had actually visited and with each site she becomes overwhelmed with emotions. One of the curators tells her not to worry because everyone who goes there acts in the same way. It's amazing how one writer has that power to captivate millions of readers throughout hundreds of years. My only qualm was the ending. I felt a little let down by it since there had been a lot of buildup. I also found it rather odd that TomLefroy was never mentioned at all in the whole book. Otherwise, it simply a wonderful book. It's a wonderful armchair traveler and it is also effective at taking you back into time as well. I really got into this story and it was one that I could not put down. It's really one of the best novels focusing on Austen ever. Beth Patillo has masterfully created a story that Jane Austen fans will love and needs to added to your Austen collection. HIGHLY recommended.