There was a lot I enjoyed about Austentatious, but also a fair bit I found problematic. The novel scored big points with me early on by dropping a reference to The Princess Bride without belaboring it with an explanation. And I enjoyed its breezy, nerd-culture-reference-spiked tone throughout. I’m generally favorably inclined toward modern spins on classic Austen plots, and I was distinctly intrigued by the notion of Austen’s voice being brought literally into the 21st century by a supernatural conceit.
But I was distracted by copy-editing/continuity gaffes –the suddenly appearing motorcycle! the table setting with people simultaneously next to and across from one another! More substantively, the romantic lead seemed smarmy and player-like; it was hard for me to fathom the protagonist’s attraction to him. And although the plot device that brings Austen’s personality to our time is clever, for better or worse it provides no opportunity for Goodnight to mimic Austen’s singular wit and acidic verve, and it also provides no explanation or context for the drastic changes in Austen’s personality.