I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright and Cass Grafton. My thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part.
When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it’s up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she’s the only one who knows that Jane exists!
Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…
But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.
Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!
I’m a bit of a sucker for anything time travel related, I’m a huge fan of the Diana Gabaldon ‘Outlander’ series of books (which I’m still working my way through) and so if any form of time travel is mentioned (and isn’t too far into deepest, darkest sci fi) my reading radar gongs loudly!
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen seemed to me to be a perfect blend; light-hearted, a hint of romance all with a bit of a twist. When I first started reading, in all honesty, I didn’t think it was for me. In hindsight however, I dove straight from a very dark, highly intense read into this – two books which could not have been more different if they tried – and I think my poor brain struggled to adjust! Happily, about 20% in I settled into the story and found myself completely swept along.
One of the most notable things about this book is that it is written by two authors – I don’t think I’ve ever read a fiction title by two authors before. I wondered if this would impact the book at all, but I could not tell a difference. I’d really love to know how they manage the writing process between them, especially when it reads from their bios as if they don’t even live in the same country – my mind is blown!
The story isn’t a rip-roaring, rollercoaster read, nor does it need to be. It is gentle, witty, warm and has, as the title suggests, charm in spades. One of the most successful elements of the novel for me is the emphasis placed on female friendships; Rose and Morgan, Rose and Jane, Jane and her sister Cassandra. Each woman has something unique to offer, and combined with one another, the results are quite special. I really enjoyed that, although this will no doubt fall under the romance category, that it feels a secondary concern in relation to these women who form the core of the story.
Special mention has to be given to the characterisation of Jane Austen. It must be so much fun taking such a prominent female literary figure and imagining her in the here and now and bringing her to life in the way she did to so many beloved characters. I thought that the authors did an incredible job with her. She is truly the star of this novel.
One of the things I hadn’t realised when reading, is that this is the first in an intended series of books, the second of which was released late last year. As it was nearing the end I was questioning the pacing, but the cliffhanger ending led me to search Amazon and suddenly everything made sense! I have already bought my copy of the next in the series, entitled The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen, and I am very much looking forward to reading what happens next!
I urge you to give this new series a try. Austen-esque themes blend in the quirkiest of ways with the modern day, bringing heart, life and soul to this gorgeous tale.
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen is available to purchase now!
Barnes & Noble (and Nook)
About the Authors
A proud bookworm since childhood, Cass writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.
She has an over-active imagination, is prone to crying with happiness as much as she is at sadness, but when it comes to her writing she leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.
Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine, and enjoys them in any combination. She currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.
Ada has lived all her life in Southern California, which makes her intolerant to any weather above or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. She grew up much more fond of reading than sports or socializing and still tends to ignore everyone she loves, all her responsibilities and basic life needs when she’s in the middle of a book.
She is luckily married to a handsome and funny man who doesn’t mind that the laundry never gets put away and she has three amazing children. Ada spent over a decade as a photographer before dedicating herself to writing, though she still believes that life should be documented well and often.
There is nothing she loves more than a good, subtle love story whether it be in real life, tv, movie, theatre or book form… well, except cake. She also really loves cake.