Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

( 71 )

Overview

Read Laurie Viera Rigler's posts on the Penguin Blog.

After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy? Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman’s life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing ...

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Overview

Read Laurie Viera Rigler's posts on the Penguin Blog.

After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy? Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman’s life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her level of Austen mania has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperones, condom-less seducers, and marriages of convenience. This looking-glass Austen world is not without its charms, however. There are journeys to Bath and London, balls in the Assembly Rooms, and the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who may not be a familiar species of philanderer after all. But when Courtney’s borrowed brain serves up memories that are not her own, the ultimate identity crisis ensues. Will she ever get her real life back, and does she even want to?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Orlagh Cassidy is delightfully fun as Courtney Stone, a modern Los Angeles girl nursing a heartbreak who wakes up to find herself inhabiting the body and life of a Jane Austenesque Regency girl. Cassidy is spot-on with Courtney's California accent, modern-day moaning about men, self-analysis and doubt, and sarcasm-and then, without missing a beat, flips easily into the proper, upper-class English tones of Jane (the Regency girl Courtney has replaced, whose accent came with the body), her pompous, controlling mother, her desperate suitor and her sympathetic best friend. Orlagh's lively narration makes Courtney even more endearing and brings the colorful story to life. Fans of Austen, chick lit, and romantic comedies should definitely put this one on their listening list. Simultaneous release with the Dutton hardcover (Reviews, June 4). (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Waking up in early 19th-century Britain is not a common occurrence for a 21st-century gal from L.A. Yet Courtney Stone, just having dumped her womanizing fiancé, does wake up during the Regency era in the home and body of Jane Mansfield (yes, she acknowledges the irony), a woman of 30 who has just fallen from a horse. As Courtney realizes that she is not dreaming, she becomes attuned to the thoughts, feelings, and memories of her host. First novelist Rigler has taken her own love of author Austen and superimposed it onto Courtney, a repeat reader and viewer of all things Jane. Aside from the obvious, there are other complications afoot, including a possible dalliance with a footman and the confused emotions regarding Charles Edgeworth, a prospective suitor and the brother of Jane's dearest friend, Mary. Throw in Jane's stern mother, her back-stabbing cousin, and a fortune-teller, and it's one wild time-traveling ride. Or is it? At book's end, it isn't quite clear where (or who) Courtney/Jane is. The voice of our heroine isn't well established either. She quotes from her favorite author's novels at will, but her tone and behavior are more that of a recalcitrant Valley Girl. What began as a charming premise becomes downright irritating. Perhaps exhaustive Austen collections would be interested. An optional purchase for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ5/1/07.]
—Bette-Lee Fox

Kirkus Reviews
An Austen addict who's been having romantic trouble in contemporary Los Angeles finds herself transported to early-19th-century England living a life that seems lifted from a compilation of the Austen novels. One morning shortly after Courtney has broken with her fiance Frank-he's been carrying on with the wedding-cake decorator-she mysteriously wakes up inside the body of Miss Jane Mansfield in 1813. Thirty-year-old Jane is recovering from an equine accident and resisting her unpleasant mother's attempts to push her into marriage. At first Courtney thinks her time travel is a dream, but when she begins talking defiantly, Mrs. Mansfield threatens to put Jane into an asylum. Courtney/Jane slides into the life of an Austen heroine, resisting the charms of handsome Mr. Edgeworth, who reminds her too much of not only Frank but his best friend Wes, to whom Courtney has been feeling drawn despite herself. She confides her confusing identity to Edgeworth's sister Mary, Jane's true friend who has dissuaded her from marrying Edgeworth because she thinks he fathered a housemaid's illegitimate child. Mary also resents that he broke off her romance with a man he found unsuitable. Mary and Jane/Courtney travel the Austen map, first to Bath, then to London, along the way encountering men and women who will be familiar to the most casual Austen reader. First-time novelist Rigler jumbles names and pieces of plot line from the novels into an Austenian dream (or nightmare). Mary and Jane/Courtney learn that Mary's former beloved was a cad and that Edgeworth acted nobly with the maid, not sexually. How Courtney entered Jane's body, through the ministrations of a magical fortuneteller, is almost anafterthought. Jane/Courtney's 21st-century urges offer provocative possibilities, but Courtney's world is a pale sketch, and Jane's so laden with Austen references that it has no life. Even the most diehard Austen fans may find this work to be too much. Agent: Marly Rusoff/Marly Rusoff & Associates
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452289727
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/29/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 284,289
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

LAURIE VIERA RIGLER's first novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, was a national bestseller. A Life Member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Laurie teaches writing workshops, including classes at Vroman's, Southern California's oldest and largest independent bookstore.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 71 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(26)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

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1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Funny and fresh, Austen addict will relate.

    Meet Courtney Stone, a modern LA singleton who mysteriously wakes up from a booze induced stupor to be transported back in time into the body of Regency era Jane Mansfield.

    No, that's not the actress Jayne Mansfield, but I love the play of words. We see plenty of that as author Laurie Viera Rigler places her modern thinking Jane Austen addicted heroine Courtney into the 1813 era life of Jane, an unmarried woman of thirty who is also facing a cross roads in her life after a riding accident knocks her unconscious and her threatening ma'ma is determined that she conform or be sent to the insane asylum. Even though Courtney has inhabited Jane's body, she has no recollection of her memories, only adding to her frustration and angst. Jane's world could not possibly be worse than her own shattered life back in the future after her fiancé Frank shagged their wedding cake designer, and her best friend Wes covered up for the cad. The engagement is off in her own life, but with her new personae Jane, it has yet to happen, much to the disapprobation of her mercenary ma'ma who is quite determined that she accept her latest suitor Charles Edgeworth. This dishy buck is even richer and more handsome than Mr. Darcy, so Courtney can not understand Jane's hesitation in accepting him. Not knowing their back story she trys to fake her way through, all the while reminding herself that it is all a dream and she will wake up or get back to her own life at any moment. Until then, she must negotiate her way through a time where repugnant body odor is ignored, blood letting common practice, and the social customs and mores for a women in her upper class station are so restrictive that her 21st-century sensibilities clash even after her years of reading Jane Austen novels. With stream of consciousness, pulse beating detail, we follow Courtney/Jane through her travails, cringe over her disgust, feel her anxiety, share in her laughter, and find hope after she meets a fortune teller in Bath who might have the answers to how this mysterious transformation took place, and how she can get home.

    Courtney Stone is one of those characters that you just want to wrap up in a big hug. A cross between Bridget Jones and Catherine Morland, author Viera Rigler has crafted a young woman so fresh, funny and real she could be your best friend, workmate or YOU in the same situation! Her use of driving first person narrative places the reader within her heroine's mind adding intensity, candor and humorous insight. Her encounter with Jane Austen herself on a London street is so hilariously embarassing that it was the high point of the novel for me. Once you have begun on Courtney/Jane's journey, you will be hard pressed to put it down, hooked on living her Regency era life through the filter of her quirky Jane Austen sensibilities. What Courtney discovers about herself through her gradual transformation will pleasantly remind you of why we all become Austen addicts to begin with.

    Laurel Ann, Austenprose

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Great!

    Definitely worth the read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2008

    American Angst in 19th Century England

    Beware the Jane Austen in the title! If you love Jane Austen this book is a sad disappointment. An American full of obsessions with body odour, beautiful teeth and self absorbtion trying to write about Regency England is a recipe for disaster. The story premise is quite good, unfortunately not a lot of research went into this book other than re-reading Jane Austen many times over. I did finish it, but wouldn't recommend buying it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    one great flaw

    this book would have been great except for the author's quirky idea of having the woman who is time traveling arrive in a different body. this, at best, makes the whole plot less personal, and at worst, makes the novel down right creepy. It was a lovely idea for a time travel book that has been seriously marred by this odd time of plot twist.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2013

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is human nature f

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is human nature for our subconscious to wish for an escape when the going get's tough and Courtney Stone's subconscious didn't just "wish" for an escape. It conjured it. The hows and whys of the situation is still remains at loss for me even after I finished the book.

    Courtney Stone's life is in the gutter and at the end of the day she releases grief and takes refuge in all of Jane Austen's work. Somehow between the world of waking and dreaming, Courtney get's teleported 200 years back in time. She didn't land in the 1800's century as herself but as Jane Mansfield, a beautiful, slim, refined, and unmarried woman in her thirties. She doesn't know who Jane is except for the reflection she sees in the mirror and only gets glimpses and fragments of Jane's memory to help her blend in.

    Courtney/Jane was first convinced that all she was experiencing was a dream caused by her obsessive readings of everything Jane Austen. But as days, weeks and months passed on, she just had to accept and take her Jane Austen training and put it to good use to please Mrs. Mansfield and shoo the Lords and Dukes, who are great big horn-dogs.

    In this century, the author explains to us that there's more to the world Jane Austen has written. And that Austen only sugar coated the real happenings within a distinguished family, town balls, and overall, men of that time. Yes, mothers only think about their daughters marrying rich. Yes, they go to balls and dance way too much. Yes, there are rich handsome gentlemen who court and flirt. But Austen and many other authors of that age didn't tell us about the obsessive and urgency of the mothers, or that a lot of harassments occur during balls and most of these rich handsome gentlemen have nasty attitudes and only have one thing in mind. Courtney realizes this as she starts getting accustomed to the simple routine of an accomplished woman and starts traveling with her suitors sister to Bath and London.

    I enjoyed coming to terms with the reality of how the 1800's is really like and how suffocating it is to be seen with a male underclassmen unchaperoned. And at the end of the book, I came with the conclusion that I didn't really know if Courtney's life in the 21st century was real or where the real Jane Mansfield is. It was a good end but an end that still made you ask what really happened to Jane and Courtney.

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  • Posted April 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting Concept

    After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy? Not only is Courtney stuck in another woman’s life, she is forced to pretend she actually is that woman; and despite knowing nothing about her, she manages to fool even the most astute observer. But not even her level of Austen mania has prepared Courtney for the chamber pots and filthy coaching inns of nineteenth-century England, let alone the realities of being a single woman who must fend off suffocating chaperons, condom-less seducers, and marriages of convenience. This looking-glass Austen world is not without its charms, however. There are journeys to Bath and London, balls in the Assembly Rooms, and the enigmatic Mr. Edgeworth, who may not be a familiar species of philanderer after all. But when Courtney’s borrowed brain serves up memories that are not her own, the ultimate identity crisis ensues. Will she ever get her real life back, and does she even want to?

    Jane Mansfield (aka Courtney Stone) hasn't been herself lately . . . literally. She wakes up one morning in a Jane Austen-style dream (she thinks!) and soon finds out that her new historic life appears a lot more realistic than she first thought. Now she's stuck in another person's body, living a life that's not her own, and beginning to share memories of a world she knows nothing of. What's a modern lady to do when she can't keep up her normal twenty-first century lifestyle?

    There was a lot missing from the book that I would have enjoyed to read about, but overall it was a cute story. I'm a history buff myself, so all the daily troubles Jane/Courtney had to learn about throughout the tale wasn't anything new to me, but it was interesting watching her adapt. Strangely the book begins right when Jane/Courtney wakes up in her "new" world, which was a bit odd and confusing for the reader to understand just HOW? she got there. The tale wasn't written a 100% smoothly and there were gaps missing here and there; example: I would have liked to learn more about her dream within a dream with her reflection in the lake addressing her or I would have liked to see the main character have a harder time describing why she couldn't write, do needlework, or dance like her "old" self (personal traits). . . I feel the author took the easy way out. Plus, characters were kind of confusingly blending together from the past and present worlds, which really could have been some type of symbolism of Jane/Courtney's conscious, but again, never fully explained. Our protagonist's a little scattered brained sometimes and even comes off as adjusting to the whole time travel incident almost too easily. She doesn't appear to learn from her mistakes and doesn't really evolve as I enjoy seeing characters do throughout the book. Yet, there were funny parts that made me smile and it kept my attention throughout. I'm even curious enough to check out book #2 - Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict

    Likes: I think I enjoyed the historical aspects to the story more than anything else; the daily habits, the courting rituals, and the whole style of life during 1813-1814 England.

    Dislikes: I'm not sure if it was the simple writing style or the rambling on of Jane/Courtney's sill

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2011

    Don't waste your time!!

    Should have listened to the bad reviews. There is no point at all to this story. Not even good for a rainy day read.

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  • Posted August 29, 2011

    Cute Story

    Enjoyable, but it didn't live up to my expectations.

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  • Posted June 16, 2011

    Read The Second Book First

    I really, really, really liked Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. I didn't know that this was the second book in the series(?). I loved it! I rushed out to get the first book (Confessions of...) but found I liked the story line in the first book better. This does not diminish the fact that Laurie Rigler is a great writer and she does take the reader on a fantasy ride through time past and present and all things Jane. Read it for yourself and see. I hope there will be a third book to tie together both stories.

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  • Posted October 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Creative and Off-Beat!

    An incredibly off-beat and light-hearted novel with definitely one of the more imaginative 'Jane Austen' concepts I have seen. There were parts of the story that I had wished the author extrapolated more like the depth of Courtney and Wes's relationship, as well as more witty tete-a-tetes and convos between Jane and Edgeworth as seen with Lizzy and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice to give the chemistry more spice. The novel is humorously well-written with many parallelisms and references to Jane Austen's novels. It's a surprisingly enjoyable read and I found myself unable to put the book down due to the creative writing flare and surrealism.*

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  • Posted September 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Blend of Contemporary Chick in 1800s Regency England!

    I was excited to receive this to review for the Crazy Book Tours. Suffice it to say, though, that you need not to be a full-grown connoisseur of all things Austen in order to truly appreciate this book. Waking up in Regency England in the 1800s as Jane, Courtney is at a loss for understanding how her circumstances came to be, and how to more appropriately fit into this new world where women are definitely not considered equals to men. She also inhabits the body of a very different woman than who Courtney is -- a woman who has dark hair, flawless skin, and a nice figure (albeit hidden in the sign of the times empire-waist fashion). This obviously isn't the easiest part of the culture shock Courtney is experiencing, considering the fact that she's a 21st century chick from Los Angeles with a lot of man troubles and mother drama. Not that it's any different in the "new" era for Courtney (I mean, Jane) -- she's got the same kind of dramatic mother, and she's still got those pesky man troubles. In her 21st century life, she dumped a cheating fiance, and she slowly learns that no matter what era you're in, sometimes people don't ever really change, no matter what gender. I enjoyed this book quite a bit -- it was incredible fun and such a quirky jaunt through Austen's time. Not to mention, it's a very easy read and was finished rather quickly. What I really enjoyed throughout this story is what I've always thought of at the idea of being able to somehow get into another time -- if I'm anywhere at the turn of a century whether 1900s, 1800s, or even earlier, I'm going to wonder how I'm going to brush my teeth? What about a shower? And oh, believe me, it's covered in this book -- complete with descriptions that made me wrinkle my nose and say "ugh!" out loud, or a quick chuckle when Courtney (whoops, Jane) is in church. Were it not for Courtney's complete obsession with Austen novels in her modern life, I am not surprised that she was able to slowly become more familiar with her surroundings. Some people eat loads of ice cream after a break up, but this character sticks to Jane Austen novels. And although she has a few slip ups in saying the slang "Ok," which her mother doesn't understand, for the most part the toughest thing that she's truly trying to understand is how she got there and how she can get home. And maybe find the right man, too, without losing who she is in the process? I laughed and had a blast while reading this and it looks like this is the first in a series, with the second entitled Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. No doubt I'll be looking out for that on my next book run!. Rigler's ability to fuse together the 21st century modern girl into the life and times of the 1800s was a fun jaunt down a lane in a world in Austen's time!

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    For any lover of Jane Austen!

    Love this book!! Amazing! A modern woman trying to find love and realizing who her true love really is. Doesn't put the main character into the life of one of Austen's character but the author puts the character in Austen's time with the ability to meet Austen! Amazing love story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    I liked

    I thought this was a nice take on Jane Austen. I love how other others have extended Jane's books in how they think they would of played out but this is just a nice side book to read in low of all those books. I would recommend anything Jane Austen or Jane Austen related.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2010

    Juvenile Writing Style

    While I commend Rigler on a somewhat engaging plot and some interesting meditations on personal responsibility, the book's not terribly sophisticated. Regrettably, she puts a great deal of effort into describing the hair and eye color of every character (why?) and how every bite of food tastes (again, why?). Plus, you see the ending coming about 10,000 miles away. This feels like a high school senior trying to imitate Austen's style.

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  • Posted April 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

    Courtney is having a bad couple months. She finds her fiance is a flirt and possible more and her best friend was covering for him. She decided to take solace in some nice hard liquor and a Jane Austen novel. The next morning she wakes to find herself no longer Courtney living in LA, but Jane Mansfield living in England...a long time ago.

    As Courtney/Jane struggle to figure out what happened to send her into another time, place, and body...she comes to learn that not everyone is as they seem and first impressions don't usually last.

    The story of Courtney as Jane is a wonderful adventure into the world of Jane Austen, full of romance, mistaken intentions, and best friends. The story ends in a somewhat traditional Austen fashion, but is even more wonderful because of it.

    4/5

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    A must have for Jane Austen fans.

    Enjoyed this, had to get the second book!

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  • Posted December 20, 2009

    Fun Time Travel Novel

    A funny story of a modern woman who time travels back to the time of Jane Austen. Some very funny parts. The ending is weak (confusing), but it's still worth reading.

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  • Posted December 8, 2009

    A different look at a romanticized period

    What I liked most about this book is the refreshing and different take on the deeply romanticized Victorian period. The author does not come down really in favor of either now or then, but rather points out that some things were better then and some things are better now. The writing is a touch flat at times, but the subject matter is interesting enough to carry the book. Very enjoyable read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    "What Would a Jane Austen Addict Do?" *May Contain Some Spoilers*

    The cover was what grabbed my attention first. Then, those two magic words..."Jane Austen." Rigler has written a wonderful book for any Jane Austen fan out there who can't get enough of her words and her world. The characters are lively and well-developed. (I even wanted to strangle Mrs. M by the end of the first chapter for treating Courtney the way she does!) The story of Courtney's enbodiment of 'Jane' was intriguing and spell-binding from the first word. The supporting cast of characters and their reactions to 21st century 'Jane' were entertaining and made for a great deal of fun. Most fun of all was the cameo appearance by Jane Austen herself. What a treat! Courtney's reaction to meeting her literary idol is probably how most of us would react in that situation. I really wish there would have been another meeting to see what J.A.'s reaction would be to running into her nutty fan once again! Overall, Rigler does a wonderful job of capturing Jane Austen's world and how we mere 21st century admirers would react inhabiting it. This book is a great addition to any library and a must read for any Jane Austen fan!

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    Loved it

    Loved it! I would only have preferred that it be longer with more development of the characters. I just didn't want it to end.

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