Happy Valentine’s Day
So today is Valentine’s Day and usually this would be the 14th romantic moment, but as I didn’t do that this year and decided to post something else instead:
This book was given to me by a friend, she knows me so well.
I read it in January, but I decided to wait on the review as I have mixed feelings about this book. Half of it I liked and the other half I didn’t.
So Jane in Love tells of two stories: Jane Austen and Sofia Wentworth. Jane Austen has not written any of her novels yet, but is living in Bath with her parents as they are trying to match her up. She meets a charming man, her last chance, and falls for him, but he gets engaged to someone else. She is upset and embarrassed when a neighborhood women tells her to travel to an address in London, where her dreams will come true.
Hurt, upset, vulnerable she does it and is given a spell. Once completed, she travels forward to 2020 where she ends up on the set of a new adaption of Northanger Abbey. She runs into the star of the show, Sofia Wentworth.
Sofia Wentworth is a British Hollywood star-famous for being Batwoman and other sexy powerful women. But now she is 37 and the young starring roles are no longer being offered to her. Instead, she is getting older roles. This Northanger Abbey production is extra painful as she was not given the starring role of Catherine but instead Mrs. Allen, the girl Courtney Smith playing Catherine is also replacing her as Batgirl, her husband is the director and has left her for another woman, and she can’t leave the production or she will have to pay a big fee.
Truth is, Sofia doesn’t really want to leave the production. She wants to be in it to try and win her husband back! When she runs into Jane Austen she thinks that it is a practical joke. She had suggested a behind-the-scenes Jane Austen tie-in and it was denied. She thinks that they decided to do it and not tell her, some joke of her husband to try and upset her into signing the divorce papers. She takes Jane Austen with her, thinking she is an actress and there are cameras following her-having her stay with her and her brother Fred Wentworth.
Eventually, Sofia believes that Jane is Jane Austen and tries to help her find a way back, getting help from an adorable librarian, Dave Croft, as she has very little science fiction knowledge. But as she is doing that Fred puts the moves on Jane and Jane starts wondering if she should go back.
But the longer she stays the more her novels disappear. If she stays she will have love but never be able to write again (the exchange of the spell). But if she goes she will kiss her only chance at true love, marriage, and family good bye. Should she go and write her timeless tales, or should she stay and marry Fred?
So let’s start with what I love:
Sofia Wentworth’s character and journey was the best part of the book. In fact, I was so intrigued I skipped the Jane Austen romance and skipped ahead so that I could read what happened to her.
She was an amazing savvy character who one just felt for. She is in love with her husband, Jack Travers, who has zero appreciation for her except what she brings to him. He loved that she knew movies and could help his productions, he loved that she was attractive and made him look good, he loved how she would take care of everything while he edited his films, and he loved how she would make decisions for the production when he was uncertain.
But he didn’t really love her, and Sofia doesn’t realize it. Although as she continues on this journey with Jane Austen she starts to view herself and her husband differently. She also painfully finds out that the woman her husband has left her for is the same woman she is acting with-her Catherine, Courtney Smith, the very same woman who replaced her as Batgirl.
After meeting Jane and beginning her quest to help her-Sofia starts surrounding herself with positive people, such as Derek who is her makeup person and very encouraging. He helps her stand up to Courtney and reminds her that she isn’t some aging sad person-she is beautiful makeup or no, strong, powerful, and intelligent.
She also meets the librarian, Dave Croft, who helps her on her quest. I loved Dave Croft and the way he treats her as he doesn’t pity her, he doesn’t treat her as an object, or tries to use her to make himself look good. He doesn’t believe her tale of Jane Austen at first, but knows she is seriously upset about something. He doesn’t want anything from her other than to help her as her acting brought relief to his mother when she was ill with cancer. He finds her very attractive, but the first things he compliments on is the person she is.
I loved the part when Sofia classily schools Courtney in acting, that was like best scene ever as I was really hating on Courtney being such a jerk. Or when Courtney tries to embarrass her by setting her up wih the production assistant who was a major yuck! But Dave shows up and rescues her from embarrassment. And Dave completely fires a painful shot right at Jack, the perfect diss! So much fun!
I really liked this as it is so important to surround you by people who will be good friends and help you see the truth, something that can be found in all of Jane Austen’s works. We need good friends-you see the clearest example of that in Emma. Everyone needs a Mr. Knightley.
I also really liked the conversation that Jane and Sofia have about Mrs. Allen. That coupled with the Northanger Abbey audiobook made me think of Mrs. Allen in a different way, Her focus on clothes and fashion, possibly filling a hole of secret sadness. And I’m thinking that sadness is her lack of children, as that is the only thing that consoles her when Mrs. Thorpe talks about her children. And Jane helps Sofia to see that as she is no longer chained to being the hot, sexy vixen-she can now be whatever she wants to be-whoever she wants to be.
Jane’s words even help Sofia be nice to Courtney, a miracle in itself. And hearing Courtney’s complain about her soon to be ex-husband Jack helps Sofia see that Jack is a major jerk. She’s better off without him.
I love Sofia’s care of Jane as well. When Jane is struggling with what to decide, Sofia encourages her in either decision and gives her the possible outcomes of staying or going.
I also loved how Jane is amazed at everything we have in the future from chocolate, to pens, to sugar at such low prices. This inspired me on my week with Jane.
Let’s move on to part II, the part I didn’t care for:
Jane and Fred
I hated this part of the story or how the writer could think their storyline as as “romantic” .
I mean this author has all the fantastic men Austen wrote about and could have used any of them as her foundation, but didn’t. This Fred is horrible, but yet is supposed to have inspired Jane Austen’s novels?
So first is drunk and sits on Jane in the guest room. Then Fred walks in on Jane showering, even though he could hear the water and she told him it was occupied. And then when she is upset about it he wants to even the score by getting naked for her; wow a real prince. It’s like he super values her opinion. Yeah, right.
I don’t even know why they fall in love. He helped her get to London, gave her money, and taught her to swim. That’s it? She’s in love? Like why?!!!!
And why does Fred like her? Like Jane is awesome but she also has zero knowledge of how anything works-and he doesn’t find that strange or weird?! He doesn’t even wonder about her background, I would. Is she Amish? Was she in a cult? I mean in Kate and Leopold, Kate thought it was strange he didn’t know anything and later she fell in love with his old-fashioned habits. Like he doesn’t find it weird or strange that she doesn’t know about computers, cellphones, is crazy about sugar, etc?
And he he doesn’t even ask about her, her family, or what she wants to do. He knows zero about her and she knows little about him. He has an accident and gets electrocuted, with Jane and him being “in love”, but why. What do they have in common? What do they even enjoy together? They hardly have spent any time together and he asks her to marry him. Flirting is great but that’s what Jane really thinks she should base a marriage on? The author who cautioned her niece, the one who showed us in countless examples of marrying for beauty or money can lead to unhappiness. The author who showed us that spending time with a person and getting to know who they really are is the best thing? None of her heroines ever rushed into love but either knew the person they married for a while or grew to know them by spending time with them. There is no real timeline but its like a week or two they spend together.
Fred is trying to write a book and Jane encourages him to write more, even sending off the few pages he has to a publisher. But when he gets writer’s block he blows up at her and blames her for everything-all is her fault. He takes off, out all night punishing Jane and leaving her worried and scared that something happened to him, but when he gets home he doesn’t apologize or care that he worried her but just expects her to sleep with him. Like that is textbook emotional abuse, purposely freaking your partner out and making them get worried so when you return the fight you are having is forgotten. Fred is just a horrible boyfriend.
Like Jane gets so heartbroken and blames herself after his tirade. She starts believing it is her fault and she should have done nothing, then they would have been fine and happy. She then decides to forget all about what she is upset and then calls herself a slave to him. She decides to resign herself over to the only thing she is going to do with her time, is love him. Where did Jane Austen ever write that? All her women were strong women who wouldn’t roll over to be a lapdog. Like where is this coming from?
I also didn’t like that she slept with Fred. First of all the manner it went down with him throwing a tantrum and blaming his problems on her and staying away all day to punish her. Not cool, dude, not cool. But then that Jane had no problems or qualms or regrets over what happened. As a women from Regency time AND the daughter of a minister I feel like she would have had much more complicated feelings about what happened and the decision she made. Not just shrug it off as no big deal.
Fred is also really controlling and doesn’t want Jane gone for a second as he is “afraid” she will leave him. Also not true love and again abusive. She goes for a walk with Sofia and Fred has a meltdown.
And then when Jane wants to return to her time, the only way she can is by the blood from her true love and what does Fred do? He refuses as he wants to force her to stay with him. What a serious jerk! Like this Fred is nothing like Fredrick Wentworth.
And to make things even worse, Fredrick had never even read any Jane Austen books. He was willing to deprive the world of her works and he’s never even read them. What a selfish jerk!
Yeah Jane and Fred’s romance was not good. Give me Sofia and Dave any day.
Sorry to have such a downer of a Valentine’s post. I know to cheer me up I am going to spend the rest of my day with the wonderful Austen men.
I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, no matter how you spend it. And don’t forget-candy is on sale!
For more Northanger Abbey, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey
For more Persuasion, go to You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?
For more Northanger Abbey adaptions, go to Northanger Abbey (2007)
For more Persuasion adaptions, go to Holiday Mix Tape
For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Emma Manga
For more Valentine’s Day, go to You Are My Fantasy: Austenland (2013)