How will Jane Austen break the news to her fiancé that she’s not only undead, but also a two-hundred-plus-year-old literary icon?
In sleepy upstate New York, Jane’s wedding preparations have taken on a bloodsucking intensity. So when Walter suggests they ditch it all and combine their marriage and honeymoon with a house tour of Europe, Jane jumps at the chance to flee Lord Byron and the lingering threat of Charlotte Brontë. But to Jane’s chagrin, more than one secret from her past is about to resurface.
From an Agatha Christie–style murder mystery to a wedding interrupted by the ghosts of the Princes in the Tower to a shocking revelation about Walter’s mother, nothing about this trip is less than pure mayhem. And when a chance encounter puts Jane on the trail of a legendary device reputed to restore a vampire’s human soul, will our beloved heroine finally be able to vow her love and devotion—or will a vampire hunter’s vengeance drive a stake through her eternal life?
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.22(w) x 8.38(h) x 0.60(d)|
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Chapter 1 Brakeston, New York “What about this one?”
Jane glanced at the magazine Lucy was holding up, opened to a picture of a bride standing in a field of daisies. The bride wore a sheath-style dress of ivory silk and a birdcage veil to which was affixed a huge pale yellow gardenia. Not far behind her stood a Holstein cow, gazing at the camera with a disinterested look.
Jane grimaced. “I don’t think I have the upper arms for that,” she said.
“Of course you do,” scoffed Lucy. “Well, with a little work you could.”
Jane ignored her best friend. “Why would a bride go tromping around in a field of cows?” she said irritably. “If there’s any train at all on that dress, she’s going to drag it right through a pile of—”
“It’s one cow,” Lucy said wearily. “And it’s a photo shoot for a fashion magazine, not an article in National Geographic. Get a grip.”
Jane sighed, closing the magazine she was paging through and tossing it onto the pile of them covering the top of the kitchen table. “It’s just that they’re all starting to blur together. Cap sleeves. Bateau necklines. Basque waists. Mermaid this and sweetheart that and princess whatever. It’s maddening.”
Lucy picked up another magazine. “Victorian Bride,” she read, looking at the cover. She glanced at Jane. “Really?”
Jane chewed the nail on her left index finger. “I grabbed everything they had,” she replied. “I think I have wedding sickness.”
Eight months had passed since she’d accepted Walter Fletcher’s marriage proposal. Shortly before the Christmas holidays she had moved into Walter’s house. It was now February, and although Walter was not pressuring her to pick a date for their wedding, another deadline hung over her head like the ominous clouds of an approaching thunderstorm.
Jane had so far avoided telling her fiancé that she was a vampire. Her undead condition was, however, known to Walter’s mother. Miriam Ellenberg, much to Jane’s dismay, had turned out to be even more of a challenge than mothers-in-law generally were: Miriam was a vampire hunter. Not surprisingly, she disapproved of her son’s choice of a girlfriend, and initially had vowed to dispatch Jane at the earliest convenience. However, after Jane rescued Miriam from almost certain death at the hands of a deranged vampire turned book reviewer, a truce had been declared. With one condition: Jane had a year in which to produce a grandchild. Should she fail, all bets were off and Miriam and she would once again be mortal enemies.
In addition to not having planned a wedding, Jane had not become pregnant. She still wasn’t even sure she could conceive, which was in itself no small concern. To make matters worse, Miriam had decided to move from Florida to upstate New York so that she could keep an eye on her daughter-in-law-to-be. Thankfully, Walter had not suggested that his mother move into the house with them. However, he had suggested that Miriam buy Jane’s former home, since Jane would have no more use for it now that she and Walter were living together. As neither Jane nor Miriam—despite both thinking very hard—had been able to come up with a good reason why this course of action should not be taken, a deal had been struck, and the week after Jane moved herself, her pets, and her possessions into Walter’s house, a trio of anxious young men had unloaded Miriam’s belongings from a truck under Miriam’s scrutinizing supervision.
The matter of Jane’s barren state was becoming a greater problem with each passing week. With only four months left in which to become pregnant, she sensed Miriam becoming increasingly impatient. To her credit, Miriam had never once reminded Jane of the looming deadline. She and Jane were cordial enough to each other that Walter had often remarked on how pleased he was that they were getting on so well. Still, Jane knew that she was being watched.
She was not surprised, then, when Miriam made an appearance in the kitchen just moments later. She was dressed in a variation of the peculiar ensemble she’d adopted following the first snowfall of the winter. Unused to cold, she had opted for warmth over fashion, exchanging the lightweight pantsuits that had served her well in Florida’s tropical climate for sturdy corduroy trousers and heavy wool sweaters in Irish fisherman and Norwegian ski patterns. At the moment she was wearing moss-green pants and a cream Aran sweater with a rolled neck. Below the knees her pants were tucked into a pair of brown Wellingtons, and on her head was a black-and-red buffalo plaid hunter’s cap with earflaps and a shearling lining.
“It’s cold enough to freeze a bear’s ass,” she said as she pulled the cap off and sat down. “I need some coffee.”
In addition to her new wardrobe, Miriam had also acquired a collection of sayings generally used only by residents of the New England states. No matter how many times Walter told her that New York—despite its name—was not considered part of New England, Miriam persisted in behaving as if it were, occasionally even taking on an accent that was more Maine lobsterman than Jewish mother of a certain age.
Jane got up and poured Miriam a cup of coffee, thinking that she really needed to start locking the front door. She handed the cup to Miriam, then refilled Lucy’s mug. She herself was drinking hot chocolate. Although her vampire metabolism didn’t require that she eat, she still enjoyed the activity, particularly if it involved sweets.
“Still looking at dresses, I see,” Miriam remarked, nodding at the magazines.
“Yes,” Jane said evenly. “Still looking.”
“I really don’t see what the problem is,” Miriam said. “Choosing a dress shouldn’t be any more difficult than choosing a paint color. Just pick the one that’s going to hide the problem areas the best. Take you, for example. You’ve got a wide—”
“I believe I’ve narrowed it down,” Jane said. “The dress choices,” she clarified as Miriam started to reply.
Miriam peered at her through the steam from the coffee cup. “And have you set a date?” she asked. “Summer’s right around the corner, you know.”
Jane was unsure whether Miriam was referring to the approaching anniversary of their agreement or just remarking on the fact that a summer wedding would be lovely. She chose to believe it was the latter, although Miriam’s tone could be interpreted either way.
“Why don’t you and Walter just elope?” Lucy suggested.
Miriam and Jane both turned their heads to look at her.
“What?” said Lucy, pushing a strand of long curly black hair behind her ear. “It would save a lot of fuss and bother.”
“I thought you were excited about being my maid of honor,” Jane said.
“I am,” Lucy assured her. “I’m just saying, if this is making you so crazy, just get married at the courthouse and go to Tahiti for two weeks or something.”
“That would be nice,” Jane mused. “We could lie on the beach and have fruit drinks.”
“Nonsense,” said Miriam. “You’re going to be married right here so that I—so that all of your friends can join in the celebration.”
Jane looked at Lucy, who rolled her eyes and puffed out her cheeks. “It was just a suggestion,” she muttered.
“Walter’s first wedding was simply perfect,” Miriam informed them. “Evelyn was absolutely stunning.”
And now she’s dead, Jane thought, immediately mortified that such a thing would pop into her head. But it was true. Besides, it was becoming far too common an occurrence for Miriam to compare Jane to Walter’s deceased wife. The week before, when Jane had tried her hand at cooking a brisket because Miriam had mentioned how much she enjoyed one, Miriam’s response was to tell her how Evelyn’s brisket had been so much moister and how she had served small roasted potatoes with it and not mashed.
“Miriam, what kind of dress do you think Jane should wear?” Lucy asked.
Miriam waved a hand at her. “Oh, you know I don’t care. I’m sure whatever she wants is fine.”
Jane felt her fangs click into place. She closed her eyes and concentrated on forcing them to retract. You can’t bite her, she reminded herself.
Miriam raised an eyebrow. “Do you have a headache, Jane?” she asked. “You look tense.”
“I’m fine,” Jane snapped. She opened her eyes. “I’m fine,” she repeated, giving Miriam a tight smile.
She heard the front door open and close. “Jane?” Walter called out. “Where are you?”
“In here,” Jane replied. “With Lucy and your mother.”
Walter came into the kitchen, brushing snow from his navy blue peacoat. “I have great news,” he said as he bent to kiss first his mother and then Jane.
“You got the Thorne-Waxe house job!” Jane said. A restorer of historic houses, Walter had recently been asked to submit a proposal for restoring a run-down Victorian house that had been cut up into four apartments. The new owners wanted to bring it back to its original glory.
“Oh, yes, I did,” said Walter. “But that’s not the big news.” His blue eyes, always sparkling, had an extra twinkle to them.
The three women looked at him. “Well?” Jane said after a long pause.
“I’ve solved our wedding problem,” Walter said, beaming. “Well, not so much the wedding problem, but the honeymoon problem.”
“What do you mean, the honeymoon problem?” Miriam asked.
“Jane and I have been trying to decide where to go on our honeymoon,” Walter explained.
“What honeymoon?” said Miriam. “You haven’t even set a date for the wedding!”
“We’ll figure that out,” Walter said. “The important thing is, I know where we’re going afterward.”
“Tahiti?” said Lucy hopefully.
“Europe,” said Walter.
“Europe is a big place,” Jane reminded him. “Can you narrow it down a bit?”
“That’s the best part,” said Walter. “We don’t have to narrow it down. I’ve been invited to go on a tour of historic houses with the International Association of Historic Preservationists. They’re spending two weeks looking at homes in Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, and England. Oh, and Scotland or somewhere. I can’t remember the exact details. Doesn’t it sound fun?”
“How many other people will be going on our honeymoon with us?” Jane inquired.
“I don’t know—two dozen or so, I guess,” said Walter. “But we don’t have to do everything with the group. There’s a lot of free time built into the itinerary. And it’s not really our honeymoon. We can add another week on at the end for just the two of us. Anywhere you want to go.” He looked at the three women, who sat there saying nothing. “Well?”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I almost gave this a three since I feel that Jane not telling Walter about her being a vampire was too drawn out. However, Byron actually became likable, Jane managed to keep avoiding being SuperAuthor, and Lucy stayed amazing. Also, the issue of staying a vampire or becoming human and it's resolution was explained at the end in a way that made sense and made me like the characters even more.
No one sparkles, but it was a satisifactory read and ending (although I hope there is more) to the Jane trilogy.
In the final novel in the Jane Austen Vampire trilogy (or is it???) we find our favorite two hundred year old undead authoress challenged by her condition, her past, and the future she is trying to make in Brakeston, New York with fiancé Walter Fletcher. After thoroughly enjoying the first two novels in the series, JANE BITES BACK and JANE GOES BATTY, we are all anticipation of how vampire Jane’s satiric, quirky and totally hilarious life in the twenty-first century will wrap up—or live on into eternity. Wedding plans are in full swing even though Jane’s fiancé Walter is unaware of his future bride’s famous past or her present condition. His darling *cough* mother, Miriam the vampire hunter, is hampering the planning with her upbeat *cough* attitude and looming ultimatum that Jane must become pregnant within a year or she will stake her. Walter’s suggestion that they combine the wedding with a European tour offered by his architectural preservation association it quickly adopted finding an unlikely group of Jane and Walter’s friends and family jumping the pond to witness the nuptials in London and tour castles and other feigned sites of Europe together. Along the way they meet zombies, vampires, ghosts, forgotten husbands, and murdered fellow travelers, while Jane searches for the great vampire urban legend, Crispin’s Needle, capable of unmaking a vampire and restoring their human soul. Ford has given us another treasure. The one-line zingers, snarky characters, break-neck pace, and nimble dialogue immediately remind us why it is such a joy to be back in his warped world. Jane Austen as a vampire? No way! Yes way! His prose is sharp, imaginative and shamelessly waggish, and we love it. The inside Janeite jokes abound. This sent us rolling: “How awful to go through life named after someone you didn’t care for…For instance, suppose your mother adored Charlotte Bronte and you had been named Jane Eyre, yet you found the character stupid and tedious.” “Doesn’t everyone?” said Jane, earning her a stern look from Lucy. p 69 Yes, Jane’s sick nemesis Charlotte is back, and so is her suave mentor Lord Byron, along with a slew of hilarious new characters. JANE VOWS VENGEANCE takes us on a Da Vinci Code meets Agatha Christie meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer adventure that I did not want to end. We can only hope that Ford will be coerced into another set of three to appease the facetious Austen, vampire, three-legged talking Chihuahua, parody lovers in us all. Laurel Ann, Austenprose
I love this series and this book was just as entertaining as the first book in the series. It stayed true to the characters and added in some new twists and turns that really brought the series together.
Jane Vows Vengeance is the third book in this series by Michael Thomas Ford. Jane Fairfax (a.k.a. Jane Austen) is a bookseller and a best-selling author. She is engaged to Walter Fletcher, an architect, and continuing to deal with his mother, a dedicated vampire hunter, Miriam. To make matters worse, Jane's been given an ultimatum by her soon-to-be mother-in-law, tell Walter the truth about her vampirism AND get pregnant. Jane isn't even sure the latter is possible, but since she loves Walter, she's willing to endure almost anything to make this possible. Or so she thinks . . . After Walter announces that they should go on an architectural tour of Europe and combine it with their honeymoon, Jane agrees. But who goes on a honeymoon tour with their mother-in-law? You guessed it, Jane and Walter . . . because his mother wants to be there to witness the great event. Things are going reasonably well on this tour until the so-called wedding day when another "surprise" awaits Jane . . . her husband . . . whom she hasn't seen for more than 150 years. Needless to say, this puts a damper on the wedding and subsequent celebrations. Jane Vows Vengeance has moments of comedic relief and continues to provide the reader with a better understanding of the quirkiness of all of the characters. This story features less romance and much more intrigue centered on a myth that may allow Jane to become fully human after 200 years of being a vampire. As Jane struggles to have her previous marriage "annulled," she is also on a quest to find the mythical object that may restore her humanity. (I forgot to mention, she is also trying to find the right moment to tell Walter who she really is and what she has become . . . piece of cake!) Jane Vows Vengeance seemed a little less light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek as the previous stories. This wasn't a bad thing and provided a new experience in the series (definitely a good thing as some series become mired down by trying to duplicate the look and feel of previous titles). Jane Vows Vengeance is a quick and enjoyable read that provides a different perspective into the lives of Jane, Walter and Miriam. Let's hope this isn't the end of the Jane Fairfax series.
Reviewed by April Book provided by contest win at Romance Junkies Review originally posted at Romancing the Book I have to be honest – the entire idea of taking classic literature and making a parody out of it leaves a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. However, it also leaves my curiosity piqued – I know, total contradiction. When I read the synopsis for Jane Vows Vengeance, I was curious and thought it sounded rather good. Even though I have not read the previous two books in this series, I quickly and easily found myself hooked within the pages of this story. At this point, I must state that the story doesn’t actually take an actual story written by Jane Austen and make light of it. Rather, it takes and gives the famous author, herself, a twist (vampire twist) and gives her a completely unique and fun story all her own. I can truly saw that I absolutely loved it!! This story is fun, unlike anything I have ever read before and the cozy mystery aspect of it was wonderful. I also loved how Charlotte Bronte is described as “Our Gloomy Friend” by Jane and the fact that the two are anything but friends. The comedic writing and style of Michael Thomas Ford is fabulous and not to be easily forgotten! In Jane Vows Vengeance, Jane is preparing for her wedding to her beloved Walter – whose Mother also happens to be a vampire hunter and has anything but love for Jane. Since both women love Walter dearly, they are willing to put up with one another – to a point – and the tension between the two leads to plenty of laughs! There is one big thing that stands in the way of a completely truthful relationship between Jane and Walter, however – the fact that she has yet to tell her soon-to-be-husband that she is a vampire, and a famous one at that! With the tale of an ancient relic called Crispin’s Needle, that is rumored to give back a vampire’s soul, Jane is hoping to find this and reclaim her soul and humanity before she has to tell Walter the truth. There are unending obstacles standing in her way, however, as bodies fly to their death from atop castles, a long-forgotten husband shows up, riddles and rhymes add questions, rather than answers, leaving Jane wondering if she will ever find what she seeks. Will Jane experience an eternal love or eternal misery? For me, Jane Vows Vengeance read like a cozy mystery. It had the light-heartedness and comedy of such a genre and was simply wonderful, entertaining and brimming with fun. Michael Thomas Ford is a new author for me, however now that I have tasted his writing style and talent, I cannot wait to get my hands on more of his work. I also look forward to reading the previous two books in this series. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for an excellent, relaxing and enjoyable read. Favorite Quote: Jane had so far avoided telling her fiancé that she was a vampire. Her undead condition was, however, known to Walter’s mother. Miriam Ellenberg, much to Jane’s dismay, had turned out to be even more of a challenge than mothers-in-law generally were: Miriam was a vampire hunter. Not surprisingly, she disapproved of her son’s choice of a girlfriend, and initially had vowed to dispatch Jane at the earliest convenience. However, after Jane rescued Miriam from almost certain death at the hands of a deranged vampire turned book reviewer, a truce had been declared. With one condition: Jane had a year in which to produce a grandchild. Should she fail, all bets were off and Miriam and she would once again be mortal enemies.