Even though I don’t think the novel is completely successful, I still find Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict‘s premise enchanting. It’s basically Freaky Friday meets Jane Austen (although the amped-up drama is little more Brontë than Austen). Modern-day Courtney Stone wakes up in the early-19-century body of Jane Mansfield (har har) and has to cope with hostile relatives, possibly unscrupulous suitors, the sorry state of medicine, et al, all while trying to figure out what has happened to her, and how to return to her own time.
I can’t help but feel it would fare better as a movie than as a novel. Rigler’s dialogue is serviceable, but realizing her setting on film would give it a solidity it lacks. Most importantly, a cinematic version could omit all (or at least most) of Stone’s interior monologues, which drag the book down — they’re markedly more clunky than most of the prose, repetitive (how many times does the reader need to be told that Stone thinks Empire-waisted gowns are unattractive?) and heavy-handed — close-captioning for the thinking impaired, perhaps.
The book’s ending is certainly well-telegraphed — it involves Stone having an epiphany the reader will have seen coming many chapters previous. But it still feels rushed and unconvincing.
Despite the novel’s flaws, there were certainly some amusing scenes, and I was invested enough in the characters to finish it, and I’ll probably even read the upcoming sequel, which promises to reveal how the Regency-era Jane Mansfield fares in 21st-century Los Angeles. (If nothing else, Rigler should be able to render that setting more convincingly.)
needs more demons? yup.