ARC Review – ‘Jane In Love’ by Rachel Givney

Title: Jane In Love
Author: Rachel Givney
Genre: Romance, Historical
Word/Page Count: 416 pages (paperback)
Publication Details: by Penguin Australia on February 4th, 2020
RRP: $32.99 AUD (paperback)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

‘If Jane Austen had the choice between the heart and the pen, what do you think she would do?’

At age twenty-eight, Jane Austen should be seeking a suitable husband, but all she wants to do is write. She is forced to take extreme measures in her quest to find true love – which lands her in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

Magically, she finds herself in modern-day England, where horseless steel carriages line the streets and people wear very little clothing. She forms a new best friend in fading film star Sofia Wentworth, and a genuine love interest in Sofia’s brother Fred, who has the audacity to be handsome, clever and kind-hearted.

She is also delighted to discover that she is now a famous writer, a published author of six novels and beloved around the globe. But as Jane’s romance with Fred blossoms, her presence in the literary world starts to waver. She must find a way to stop herself disappearing from history before it’s too late.

A modern-day reimagining of the life of one of the world’s most celebrated writers, this wonderfully witty romantic comedy offers a new side to Jane’s story, which sees her having to choose between true love in the present and her career as a writer in the past.

Whether you’re a Jane Austen fan or have yet to pick up a book of hers, ‘Jane In Love’ is sure to delight and amuse. I’ve never read a Jane Austen book in my life, but I loved reading this reimagining about Jane!

The story starts off in Jane’s time in 19th century England with the irrepressible writer frolicking through a muddy field ruminating about her marriage prospects. We’re instantly immersed in the dilemma for a woman of her era where marriage is the only prospect for a good future and to remain single is a huge indictment of character that inspires pity and shame. Jane entertains the idea of marriage for practical reasons, but also wistfully hopes for the chance to fall in love. Through a series of improbable events, she winds up time-travelling into the future and landing in 2020, where she fortunately befriends Sofia and her brother Fred who take her under their wing.

I really enjoyed the writing style, the author had so much sly wit that I found myself constantly chuckling at the wry observations and snarky commentary both about society in Jane’s time as well as our modern society when she found herself in 2020. It was so interesting to see how a character from the past reacted to things we take for granted, not just technology, but also supermarkets that dazzle Jane with near-infinite resources for a low cost (a pack of sugar is a revelation to her) and the fact that in our time, women are independent and capable of providing for themselves. Their manner of dress also shocks Jane no end, but it’s the least of the surprises and thrills that she experiences as she navigates escalators, trains and the bizarre forward manner in which people address each other and don’t wait to be politely introduced!

Jane instantly endeared herself to me with her earnest passion for writing and continuing to be true to herself even when family and society looked down on her for having more thoughts in her head than shallow observations about the weather. I also liked that she was allowed to be flawed and indulge in selfish moments, such as when she saw her mother despairing over her disappearance, but decided to hide away instead of revealing herself because she was angry about their previous confrontation. It made her feel more real that she reacted in such a petty manner.

I also became fond of Sofia who starts off as a self-absorbed celebrity, but is given greater depth and becomes more sympathetic along the way. It’s easy to eyeroll at her desperation to win back her feckless husband and judge Sofia for being vain and ditzy, but I wound up invested in her because she could also be warm, caring and compassionate. Her brother Fred is introduced as a love interest who is so darling in his awkwardness, but quick to banter with Jane and drop everything to help her, so it was easy to see why she was drawn to him. The quandry Jane faces is whether to choose her legacy as a beloved writer or true love, and while it may be obvious from the start how this is going to end, as the saying goes, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. This is a fun, light-hearted read which has bittersweet moments, but is hopeful and optimistic above all.

If you’re into time-travel romance and historical fiction, I highly recommend checking this one out. 🙂

Personal Rating: 4 out of 5 kitties recommend this book.

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Disclaimer: Physical copy provided by publisher free for an unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

2 thoughts on “ARC Review – ‘Jane In Love’ by Rachel Givney

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