What happens when an eighteenth century literary darling magically pops up in the weirdest city in Texas? Magic and weird collide in AUSTENTATIOUS, the story of Nicola James, a left-brainer with a Jane Austen obsession and a carefully finessed life plan. A plan that doesn’t include an enchanted journal or an interfering fairy godmother, who just might be the spirit of Jane Austen herself.
When Nicola discovers her journal entries mysteriously whittled down to a cheeky bit of commentary on her life, she’s freaked first, skeptical second, and finally downright curious. She can’t help but keep writing, dueling really, with a two-dimensional fairy godmother she doesn’t totally believe in. Soon, the witty little notes start coming true, screwing with her plans, her head, and her life, and nudging her towards an impossible—and impossibly seductive—romance with a man who’s inarguably wrong for her. Nicola’s torn, trapped between a life that makes sense and a man who doesn’t, with “Fairy Jane” wedged in the middle, relentlessly rooting for another “Mr. Darcy”.
Lydia - 3.5 Star
A mystical, magical novel, Austentatious takes us on a fairy tale ride merging Jane Austen with Austin, Texas and takes a girl who has a plan and stubbornly refuses to take any detours from it until an unusual journal pops into her life and makes her question everything.
I had an extremely slow start to this novel partly due to some things in life that left me with less reading time, but I also think it was because I wasn’t entirely immersed in this novel until later so I didn’t always rush to pick it up. My main concern initially as I read was that this novel was quite heavy with internal dialogue as well as a lot of detail with small actions. One example that stood out was the main character ordering a drink. Then paying for it. Then scanning the bar. And then walking away. And then thinking and then... Well, you get the picture. One scan as she ordered the drink maybe and omit paying because I assume the character isn’t going to skip out on the bill unless she’s flighty or a clepto or maybe her paying results in a flirtation with a hot bartender? And maybe a few less thoughts and a bit more action. Maybe her hand rattles the drink and spills it to show nerves instead of thinking it? It doesn't happen that often, but enough that I noticed and started glossing over, especially when immersed in the internal dialogue. Then again maybe it was just me and my newfound ADHD.
The dialogue between characters was also peppered heavily with tags and thoughts and I had to force myself to read them all when I found myself skimming to continue with the actual dialogue. In addition, there was some repetitiveness regarding the Plan and how she’s not spontaneous and after a few of these thoughts, I got it. It wasn’t overly much, but something I noticed and I think would have made the novel more fluid if tweaked a little.
That said, there was much about this novel I loved. There were some fantastic words, thoughts, and imagery as well as some dialogue that really popped and I definitely had a few giggles. I really enjoyed the description of Austin which I've heard is such a fabulous city, but have never visited myself. All of the characters were enjoyable, well developed and fit well into the different and odd that is Austin. Sean was an interesting character and I could never entirely figure out whether he was for real or not, especially with the magical element of this novel and Nicola’s transformation was fun to watch.
The romantic in me was grinning and ridiculously frustrated near the end when I had to get off the subway, unable to finish at an inopportune time in the story. Jane Austen fans will definitely appreciate Austentatious as will anyone who loves a mystical quality to their chick lit.
Thank you to Alyssa Goodnight for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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