Jane Austen Ruined My Life

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780824947712
  • Publisher: Ideals Publications
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Pages: 278
  • Sales rank: 483,689
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Beth Pattillo
RITA Award—winning author, Beth Pattillo combines her love of knitting and books in her engaging Sweetgum series. Pattillo served on staff with churches in Missouri and Tennessee before founding Faith Leader, a spiritual leadership development program. Pattillo is the married mother of two children and lives in Tennessee.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 60 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Wonderful Read

    I love anything Jane Austen so when I saw this title in the store, I had to read it. I always judge how well I'm going to like a book by how deeply engrossed I get within the first few pages. Will I stand in the bookstore reading in the isle all the way up to chapter 3? Or will I get bored and put it down after page 2. Well, this one had my attention from the beginning and kept it. You feel for the main character and everything that she's been through that led her to England. Broke, divorced, and discredited, she heads to England on a wild goose chase. And you're right along with her as she's teased with new writings by Jane Austen, and will be eager to learn the next discovery just as much as she. The main character thinks that the ideals Jane Austen wrote in her novels about love and marriage are a cause of her emotional strife, but she grows throughout the book and not only finds Jane Austen, but herself.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Well Worth Reading

    After walking in to find her husband and her teaching assistant having a sexual fling on the dining room table, Emma's well-ordered life falls apart, along with her university career specializing in the literary works of Jane Austen. Since it was Austen's novels that made Emma believe in happy endings in the first place, she heads to England with plans to discredit the long dead author, whom she now feels was no real authority on love and relationships. However, what Emma discovers in her literary research is that Austen experienced her own disappointments in life and love due to the choices she made. The more Emma learns, the more she evaluates her own life choices, her relationships with others, and the paths she ignored or did not take. Her journey to England is one of self discovery that gives her a new respect for Austen, as well as a fledgling sense of self worth and the confidence to explore new found possibilities in love and her career.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Can Jane Austen ruin your life?

    American college professor Emma Grant always does the right thing and expects the same from others. She acquired her expectations from her minister father and her favorite author Jane Austen, who both taught her to believe in the happily-ever-after. Life was turning out as planned until she unexpectedly discovers her husband's affair with her teaching assistant who in turn falsely accuses her of plagiarizing another author's work. An academic scandal ensues prompting an investigation and removal from her prestigious teaching position, denunciation by academia, and an ugly divorce leaving poor Emma at a turning point in her life. She had always believed in the possibility of finding her Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley and settling down to martial bliss. How could Jane Austen have ruined her life? <BR/><BR/>Without a job, husband, reputation or money, she packs up and off to London on the invitation of an elderly woman Mrs. Parrot who claims to have a stash of undocumented letters written by Jane Austen. If this woman's claims are true, they might be the famous missing letters that Jane Austen's sister Cassandra inherited after her death in 1817 and supposedly burned deeming them to personal for public view. If authenticated, they represented the ultimate Holy Grail of Austenalia and the ticket to Emma's academic and personal happiness. The enigmatic Mrs. Parrot is not quite ready to just hand them over to anyone, even if they have been summoned to her house. Emma must prove her worthiness to Mrs. Parrot, one of the 'Formindables', a secret society of devoted Janeites named after Jane's own moniker of herself and sister Cassandra in their later years. Mrs. Parrot sends Emma on a series of Austen related tasks/tests to prove she's up to snuff visiting Steventon, Chawton, Bath and other Austen haunts. Along the way she encounters many coincidences including a reappearance after ten years of a previous boyfriend Adam and a new man Barry who just happens to pop up unexpectedly along her journey all adding to the mystery surrounding the letters and their importance. <BR/><BR/>Jane Austen Ruined My Life is an intriguing and quick read that succeeds on so many levels by blending accurate biographical and historical information about Jane Austen's life and works (major kudos to Pattillo) with a contemporary adventure romance that at times is reminiscent of The Last Templar where the heroine is thrown into a quest to discover ancient information that will change our current perceptions. Austen enthusiast will appreciate discovering all the Jane Austen lore and references, and romance readers will identify with the modern heroine and her adventure. Anglophiles will enjoy the added benefit of Ms. Pattillo's past residence and many trips to England as she describes familiar haunts in London and Jane Austen travel destinations with aplomb. My one quibble is that Emma's romantic decision could have ended differently. Obliviously, I am not as evolved as the heroine yet, and expect my Jane Austen happily-ever-after!<BR/><BR/>Laurel Ann, Austenprose

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    A definitely different take on Jane Austen characters! I enjoye

    A definitely different take on Jane Austen characters! I enjoyed this and look forward to reading other books by this author!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2010

    What secrets did Jane Austen hide?

    This book will have you guessing everything that you read in it and wondering if Jane Austen's works were a hint as to a secret that she kept. I enjoyed this story so much and I also liked how there was no cursing anywhere in the dialogue. The storyline flowed so easily that I could picture myself with Emma on her amazing journey around London and its surrounding cities.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great story!

    Wonderful cast of characters. Great story full of tiny little tidbits you might not have known otherwise, along with a few made up ones .. just to keep things interesting. Honestly makes me wish there really was some secret Jane Austen society!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2014

    Emma Grant believes that Jane Austen ruined her life. She believ

    Emma Grant believes that Jane Austen ruined her life. She believes that the brilliant author gave women all over the world the hope that happy endings and true love exist when in fact, they don’t. And Emma spent almost her entire life foolishly believing that a Mr.Darcy, from Pride and Prejudice or a Captain Wentworth, from Persuasion was waiting for her out in the world and all she needs to do is find him. 

    She thought she found herself, a Mr. Knightley (from Austen’s novel, Sense &amp; Sensibility) and 10 years into the marriage and she finds her “Mr. Knightley” with another woman. And with that woman, her marriage was over and so was her professional life. 

    Financially unstable, Emma Grant flies to England in pursuit to find evidence that Jane Austen is a fraud, so she can write her way up the ladders once again. She speaks to a senior member of a secret Jane Austen group (who keeps Jane Austen’s letters a secret) called The Formidables and is sent all around places like, Lyme, Bath and other places Jane Austen used to love and hate for tasks to prove she’s not one of those people who want to sabotage Jane Austen’s work and in exchange, this senior member will show her original copies of Jane Austen’s letters. 

    In the fray of these tasks, Emma Grant struggles with love and herself. And instead of grasping her second chance at a happy ending, she chooses to focus on herself, because in fact, Jane Austen didn’t ruin her life. Emma did that all on her own. 

    Jane Austen Ruined My Life was a heartfelt book that I enjoyed, it was dusted with facts about Jane Austen, fanatics like myself would love to read about. This was an absolute wonderful read with slight romance and a woman trying to find herself. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012



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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011


    As a Jane Austen fan myself, I always wondered how she could write such wonderful endings to her stories when she didn't have one herself. Even though this book is fiction and she is still shrouded in mystery, it made me feel that maybe she was happy, even if it's not the conventional happy we all seem to look for. This book is perfect for any Austen fan that ASSUMES they will have one of her "happy endings."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011


    Very very super boring but adults seem to like it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I really enjoyed this book

    ane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo caught my attention mainly because of the title. I also love the cover to this book. I had to find out how a beloved author who has been dead for some time could ruin anyone's life.
    Emma Grant believed in happy endings once upon a time. However recent circumstances have forced her to rethink her beliefs. Her marriage has fallen apart and she was recently fired from her job. The only thing that keeps her going is revenge. Revenge against Jane Austen. Emma seeks to expose Jane for the fraud she is. When Emma gets wind of the possible existence of letters written by Jane Austen and kept secret from the rest of the world she knows this is her ticket to getting her life back on track. Emma boards a plane to England to bring Jane Austen down.
    I really like the story line to this book. It's fun and fast paced. This book is full of great characters. I especially like Mrs. Parrot. She belongs to a secret society called The Formidables. The Formitables were created by Jane Austen's sister Cassandra. They are in possession of some of Jane's letters that Cassandra didn't want to destroy but she also didn't want the letters to be publicized either. Mrs. Parrot entices Emma to come to England to view these letters. However Mrs. Parrot does not give them up so easily. She sends Emma on sort of a scavenger hunt that not only teaches Emma a few things about Jane Austen but also helps Emma realize a few things about herself.
    Emma is a great character that I'm sure many people can relate to. She's been hurt and doesn't know how to trust anyone. While in England she runs into her former BFF, Adam. Emma and Adam had a falling out before she got married and haven't spoken in ten years. Adam is a dream. He's handsome, bookish, always carries a handkerchief and makes tea rather well. Emma and Adam try to rebuild their friendship but some obstacles stand in their way.
    I really enjoyed this book. I like everything from the storyline to the characters. It is a fun adventure about self discovery, learning to trust, and finding your own happy ending. I especially like the ending. I won't give anything away but I will say I didn't expect it. I thought Beth Pattillo did a fantastic job. I wish the Jane Austen letters had been real though. It would have been great to find out more about the mysterious Jane Austen. Pattillo did a great job channeling her inner Austen.

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    an intellectual's quirky romance.

    I enjoyed this book. It was well thought out and believable. I had hoped for a little more closure in the end but it was well written

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Love It!

    What a great book. I love jane austen novels and this book made it fun to love her even more.

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  • Posted September 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Smart and fun chick lit for the over 30 set

    When I picked up this book, I had no idea that this was our heroine, Emma Grant's second literary appearance. As a reader, you should have no fear that you need to read Ms. Pattillo's first book featuring Emma before this one. I did not and I still found Jane Austen Ruined My Life to be a delightful, witty romp through England.

    I loved the setting - - I have always wanted to travel to England and having yet to get there, I savor any books that take place in that lovely foreign land. Ms. Pattillo, who states in her bio that she travels annually to Britain, describes even the most everyday highlights of British living, from the local Starbucks to riding the tube to jaunts to the local bookstore. Even having never been to London or the surrounding areas, I could picture each location almost clearly in my mind from the narrative.

    I could also relate to Emma. She realizes too late that she was married to a man who was controlling and didn't cherish her. She changed her life to suit him and his and it took something as cruel as catching him the act of adultery for her to make an official break. She is scarred and she is bitter about relationships but she isn't a bitter person. I could also understand her passion about finding potential secret letters written by Jane Austen and her one-minded drive in her hunt.

    The only thing I didn't like about Emma was her apparent blindness when it comes to Adam, her friend from college days whom she hasn't spoken to or seen since marrying Edward and who she runs into again upon arriving in London. It's painfully obvious, to this reader at least, that Adam has long held a torch for Emma and it was no coincidence that Emma and Adam's friendship was broken when she married Edward.

    Adam is a wonderful leading man - - thoughtful, generous and literate. Throughout much of the book I rooted for Emma to come to her senses and throw herself into Adam's arms - - in between rooting for Emma to find those Austen letters and reveal some tantalizing aspect of Ms. Austen's life.

    Jane Austen too is a central character of this smart piece of chick lit - - her name isn't just used to sell the book. There are no flashbacks but much of Jane is revealed, fictionally, through papers.

    In all, I found Jane Austen Ruined My Life to be a fun, intelligent read and a wonderful way to spend some quiet afternoons. The ending was not at all what I expected and some readers may find the ending questionable and objectionable. While it might have been a bit of a letdown, it didn't ruin the spirit of the book for me.

    If you're a fan of clever chick lit and/or Jane Austen, I recommend you pick up this book.

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Jane Austen Fan-Fiction

    I wanted to like this book. I've read so many modern-life-intersects-with-Jane-Austen novels I've lost count.

    But this was the worst one yet. Chapter 1 left me with an uneasy feeling. The kind that you get when you've just started to read a book that you're sure is going to disappoint.

    The writing is hokey in some places - exactly what I'd expect from someone who is writing Austen fan-fiction.

    The book was brimming with information on Jane Austen, but where it excelled in research, it lacked in style, plot, and dialogue. I spent too much time in the heroine's head, hearing her commentary on why she was insecure.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Jane Austen "What If" Book

    As a huge Jane Austen fan, I've been snapping up anything to do with her lately. She's become the newest trend in books, TV shows, and movies. And frankly I'm loving it as she was one of the best authors ever in history. This novel is a "What could have happened?" type of story dealing with Jane Austen and her long lost letters. Fans and researchers of Austen have always been devastated to hear that Austen's sister burned a majority of her letters. Imagine what a huge break into Jane Austen's life and personality it would be if those letters one day turned up? Reading this book was absolutely lovely and one of the best ways to spend a rainy afternoon. I love stories that take place in England, whether they are modern day or historical. This book totally gave me the feel of being in Britain as the descriptions of the towns and cities made them come to life. British culture is very unique and as a reader, you can tell research had gone into making the story very authentic. It would be my dream to be Emma and experience this adventure. As a history major, literature lover, and closet Anglophile this book was right up my alley. You feel for Emma throughout the book. Every time she mentioned what happened with her ex husband, you feel her pain. It's totally understandable why she left and came to England to do something for her own self. The scenes with Mrs. Parrot and learning about the Formidables was probably one of the coolest scenes ever written for Jane Austen fans. I think if I had been in Emma's place at that point and held an authentic real Jane Austen letter, I would be freaking out. My favorite scenes in the book are when Emma goes to the sites where Jane Austen had actually visited and with each site she becomes overwhelmed with emotions. One of the curators tells her not to worry because everyone who goes there acts in the same way. It's amazing how one writer has that power to captivate millions of readers throughout hundreds of years. My only qualm was the ending. I felt a little let down by it since there had been a lot of buildup. I also found it rather odd that TomLefroy was never mentioned at all in the whole book. Otherwise, it simply a wonderful book. It's a wonderful armchair traveler and it is also effective at taking you back into time as well. I really got into this story and it was one that I could not put down. It's really one of the best novels focusing on Austen ever. Beth Patillo has masterfully created a story that Jane Austen fans will love and needs to added to your Austen collection. HIGHLY recommended.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2009

    Loved It!

    I have read many books about Jane Austen, her characters, or how her books have affected readers lives, however this has been by far the best! It is true to the personality of Jane Austen. Anyone who either loves Jane Austen or whose life plans have not always turned out the way they planned can relate to it. The descriptions of the scenary and locations were great. I actually felt like I was seeing these sights too! I just all around loved it!

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  • Posted January 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Jane Austen Ruined My Life is Worth Reading

    Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo is a surprisingly fast and fun read, and I found myself unable to put it down at times. The plot revolves around wishful thinking: WHAT IF Jane Austen¿s sister Cassandra saved more of her letters than we know about? What if the missing correspondence is being kept somewhere, protected from the public?<BR/><BR/>This knowledge has English professor and devoted Jane Austen scholar Emma Grant salivating. Her academic reputation is in tatters after her husband and his teaching assistant (and his paramour) accuse her of plagiarism. Newly divorced and denied tenure, Dr. Grant travels to London hot on the trail of the rumored missing letters. There, she meets up with Mrs. Gwendolyn Parrot, a Formidable, who tantalizingly allows Emma to read a copied snippet of Jane¿s missing letters. Scholar that she is, Emma immediately recognizes Jane¿s handwriting and the (seeming) authenticity of the fragment. To be certain, she would have to read a copy of the original.<BR/><BR/>After extracting a promise of secrecy from Emma, Mrs. Parrot sends her on a series of tasks, in which Emma visits Steventon, Chawton Cottage, Bath ¿ well, you get the drift ¿ all the places that Jane Austen either lived in or traveled to. Emma¿s motives for going through all this trouble are the possibility of handling the actual letters and researching them. Her resulting book would salvage her academic reputation. Traveling with Emma is an old flame who, coincidentally, is staying in the same flat as Emma. Does he know of her secret or is he truly as interested in her as he claims? His presence adds to the mystery and suspense of the plot. The book is a fast read and I found it completely satisfying until the very end. While the Emma finds her own definition of a happy ending (which, I will concede, made logical sense), I wanted to scream out ¿No!¿ and rewrite that ending. You see, romantic that I am, I do believe that people can have their cake and eat it too.<BR/><BR/>Beth Pattillo¿s latest novel reads less like a Jane Austen sequel and more like a The Da Vinci Code offspring. Consequently it will appeal to a broader audience than most Austenesque books. Having said that, the plot is not wholly original . There are echoes of Syrie James¿s The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and Lori Smith¿s A Walk With Jane Austen in this novel. The author, whose writing style is elegant and spare, has written eight other popular books, including the award winning Heavens to Betsy.

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  • Posted December 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    The Secrets Behind Passionate Prose!

    Emma Grant has lost everything she previously valued in life, her marriage and her career in one fell swoop of betrayal and conviction based on association. A Jane Austen scholar, her love for this famous author provokes her to escape America and travel to England to do some research that may or may not yield fruit with which to restore her professional career. Between 1800 and 1804, an empty, unexplained space lies in the prodigious correspondence of Jane Austen. <BR/><BR/>How will Emma's connection with Mrs. Parrot, a knowledgeable woman living in relative obscurity, guarantee Emma success in her carefully plotted, unorthodox plan? The mysterious Mrs. Parrot tells Emma she must carry out a number of tests to ensure she is worthy of reading Jane Austen's missing letters. While not particularly difficult to complete, the process of doing these tasks becomes very, very complicated by the presence of Adam, an old flame whom Emma rejected over her ex-husband, Edward's loving advances and Barry, a slick, super-handsome male Emma meets. Barry causes just about all women to swoon with lustful, passionate response wherever he appears, and Emma is no exception for sure to his debonair advances as well.<BR/><BR/>But there's more than meets the eye with every character in this humorous, fascinating and poignant tale! As Emma sets upon the quest to discover the reason for Jane's silence, Emma discovers that every person has secrets that forge a person's character, forcing one to choose honor over shame, true love over devious machinations, and integrity over deception based on self-aggrandisement.<BR/><BR/>Historical fiction lovers will relish the places Emma visits, the descriptions of churches, bookstores, seaside resort areas and other notable places where Jane Austen lived, visited and wrote her well-known, renowned novels.<BR/><BR/>Love conquers the heart and mind in many, many ways, but Beth Pattillo has delved wider and deeper in the landscape of past and present history to grace the reader with secretive, dynamic, complicated and fascinating characters who enrich the true meaning of honor and love! The legacy of Jane Austen is alive and well in Emma Grant's journey to a novelist's singular, fascinating process!<BR/><BR/>Well, done Ms. Pattillo! Keep writing so we may thoroughly enjoy your talent as much as readers will enjoy Jane Austen Ruined My Life! <BR/><BR/>Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on December 14, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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