LIES JANE AUSTEN TOLD ME, by Julie Wright, Shadow Mountain, Nov. 7, 2017, Softcover, $15.99 (young adult/new adult/adult)
Based on its popularity, it should come as no surprise that Shadow Mountain Publishing is continuing to build up its Proper Romance line. So far the line includes historical, steampunk, Regency, Victorian and Western slants. Today, contemporary joins the catalog with Julie Wright’s Lies Jane Austen Told Me.
At the center of Lies Jane Austen Told Me is Emma. Emma is in love with everything Jane Austen, and she expects life in the real world to mirror Austen’s books. But Emma’s about to get a rude awakening.
When Emma falls for the handsome and wealthy Blake Hampton, she can’t help but think her life is on a positive trajectory. Especially when Blake invites her home to meet his parents. It only seems natural that an engagement is the next step.
Except it’s not. Blake doesn’t want a wife; he wants a hookup. Emma can’t believe she was so blind. Angry, hurt and embarrassed, she throws herself into work as the CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. But even there, she can’t escape the Hampton family.
Enter Blake’s younger brother, Lucas. Emma returns to work from her disastrous weekend only to find her boss has hired a consultant — Lucas — to help organize the company’s expansion on the East Coast.
Emma is determined to finish the work and get rid of Lucas as fast as she can. After all, he is Blake’s brother and is bound to be a cad. That couldn’t be further from the truth, though, and Emma realizes she actually likes him. But things in Jane Austen novels are rarely tidy and neither is Emma’s love life.
Lies Jane Austen Told Me is not a retelling of a specific novel, which is nice. It has the feel of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler, and Austenland, by Shannon Hale, while standing completely on its own.
As is the case with the other Proper Romance books, you enter Lies Jane Austen Told Me knowing the basic outcome. It’s the path getting there that makes it comfortably predictable rather than boring and trite. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but it does make for a fun read.
I’ve never known someone so obsessed with a book or author that all his or her decisions are based around it. I have, however, known people who have had to let go of impossible expectations. Emma is so wrapped up in Austen; she forgets to look at Blake and Lucas through her own eyes. It’s only when she lets go of her “playbook” that she finds what she truly wants.
Lies Jane Austen Told Me is not the best Proper Romance book. That honor goes to Josi S. Kilpack’s All That Makes Life Bright with Julianne Donaldson’s Edenbrooke a close second. However, Lies Jane Austen Told Me is an enjoyable contemporary novel that will likely appeal to young adults and up.
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