Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park by Cindy Jones

From back of book: 

A delightful novel about a contemporary woman's foray into the past during one magical summer spent re-enacting Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.

Lily is a dreamer.  In fact, her dreams of Jane Austen have gotten a little out of control.  Not only has she just been let go of her job for reading Northanger Abbey when she should be doing work, she't taken to having an imaginary friend give her advice - Jane herself.  This is all because Lily's been having some tough times.  For one thing, her boyfriend has just abandoned her for another woman.

So when she gets the amazing opportunity to travel to London to re-enact Austen's Mansfield Park, she leaps at the chance.  But though it seems like Lily will be escaping her troubles, the truth is she'll begin facing - and dealing - with them...with a little help from Jane, of course!

My thoughts:

I don't want to be negative, but this book is not delightful.  It is 'trying' - as in, it tried my patience.  Generally, I like to read books that are Austen inspired - such as Austenland by Shannon Hale (such a fun read!) - however, this particular book did not have any of the charm or wit that I expected it to have.  Instead, I found myself reading a book that was lacking in everything.  The writing was okay, the characters were dull and the plot was rather messy. 

The story is basically about Lily, who has been dumped by both her boyfriend and job.  She is desperate to rekindle her romance with her ex, but he has moved on and wants her to stop driving by his house every night to spy on him. As far as work goes, she decides to ask Vera, the owner of her favorite bookstore, for a job - apparently there is this literary festival that she is ready for (whatever that means).  And so, we find Lily en route to work in England (after having paid for her own flight); once there, well things get a bit confusing.  Does Lily even have a job with Vera?  More importantly, does Vera even know what is going on with the literary festival? Its all rather confusing.  Of course, Lily always manages to find ways to stick around England, while at the same time seems to be finding herself (which was the whole point of going to England).  Scattered throughout the book are literary references, which is always a bright spot (probably the only bright spot in this case).  Oh, and did I mention the imaginary Jane Austen?  Yeah, Lily has an imaginary friend, who happens to be Jane Austen - I'm not even going to touch that one. 
Overall, I just did not connect with this book. I had to force myself to finish it and am just happy to be done with it.  This is a book that I think only Austen fanatics might possibly enjoy, but even then I'm sceptical about recommending it.  However, I will mention that I have read loads of positively glowing reviews about this book, so who knows - maybe, I'm just one of the few people who didn't get it.  If you want the chance to read it for yourself, I will happily send my copy to one lucky reader - just leave me a comment and include your email address (for US residents only). 

By the by, thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me join this book tour and to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book. 


bermudaonion said...

Sorry this didn't work for you.

Nadia said...

Me too. I was really looking forward to it. Oh well, they can't all be good reads.

She said...

I am reading Mansfield Park right now and loving it, but I don't think I'll be reading this one after it. :/

Wallace said...

I'm with you on this one, Nadia... I was disappointed and not engaged by it.

Amanda said...

Great honest review! Thanks!

Nadia said...

She, I should have read Mansfield Park instead.

Wallace, what a disappointing read! Oh well.

Amanda, Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry this one didn't turn out to be what you were looking for ... hopefully your next book will be a better fit.

Bloomin'Chick Jo said...

I've been hesitant to get into any of the Austen reads for some reason. Great review!

Nadia said...

heathertlc, sometimes you just don't click with a book. Oh well.

Jo, thanks! And I know what you mean, only some do a good job of meshing both worlds together.

Angela's Anxious Life said...

I am a fellow member of Chicks on Lit on goodreads! That I would stop by and say HI! I hate when I have to force myself to finish a book. It's awful!

XOXO Angela's Anxious Life

Nadia said...

Hi Angie! That's cool that you are a fellow COLer - I have to admit that I haven't been on in awhile. Need to catch up on that site. And yes, it is awful when you force yourself to finish a book - its a bad habit that I need to break.

By the by, just checked out your blog and loved it!!