What Would Jane Austen Do?

What Would Jane Austen Do? By Laurie Brown

The story begins with Eleanor Pottinger haggling over a non-refundable hotel room booked in England during a Jane Austen convention. Her fiancé has recently left her for a blonde, the clerk at the desk forgot to enter the reservation in the computer and is worried about being let go. The deal: stay in the special tower. The catch? It’s haunted.

Because of all the rules about liquids in the carry-on, Eleanor’s toiletries are packed in her suitcase, which, of course, the airline loses. So she’s hungry and alone, without her cosmetics, in a haunted tower.

Then the scene switches to the ghost world, which is how we learn that Eleanor is from Los Angeles! They debate whether to wake her immediately and get her out of their rooms or to let her rest from her journey. After she rests a bit, they wait to chat with her. And thus the fun begins!

Our ghosts are Mina and Deirdre Cracklebury, and they are sisters who cannot leave the manor. They are trapped, they think, because something is unresolved in their lives, and they want Eleanor to go back in time and help rectify the situation. In exchange, they offer her first-hand experience with Jane Austen, whose amber cross, family legend decrees, Eleanor is currently wearing. She agrees, just so they’ll let her return to sleep, but has no idea they will actually transport her. Even once that has been done, it takes more than a morning of Regency ablutions to make Eleanor realize that she is, in fact, now living in June, 1814.

A host of characters await her interaction: Teddy, Mina and Deirdre’s half-brother who wants to marry Ellen (Eleanor’s Regency nickname), Aunt Patience who seems to have any only for Teddy, Mrs. Holcum, who wants her daughter Beatrix to marry Teddy, and Lord Shermont, who may seduce one of the Cracklebury sisters (though he seems more excited about Ellen than any other woman). She, in turn, feels more stimulated by him than she wants to (so much so that she allows him to kiss her in exchange for a ham sandwich). Meanwhile, he has a secret task on behalf of the British government that leads him to be suspicious of everyone around him, including Eleanor, to whom he so drawn.

I’d ruin much of the joy you will experience if I reveal much more, but this book offers time travel, mystery, steamy romance (thus the half-clad man on the cover; by the way, this book is found in the “romance” section of book stores, so you’ll have to go over to the dark side to find it unless you spare yourself the embarrassment and make the purchase on-line), and a fictional opportunity to recognize the Darcys and the Wickhams before you attempt to do so in real life (I picked the right guy in the book, if that means anything. Here’s hoping, for in real life J.)

Published in: on May 23, 2009 at 6:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

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