Title: Jane in Love
Author: Rachel Givney
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Published: 4th February 2020
Synopsis: Jane Austen time-travels to the future and falls in love. But will she choose happiness in the present, or her career as a writer in the past?
At age twenty-eight, Jane Austen should be seeking a suitable husband, but all she wants to do is write. She is forced to take extreme measures in her quest to find true love – which lands her in the most extraordinary of
Magically, she finds herself in modern-day England, where horseless steel carriages line the streets and people wear very little clothing. She forms a new best friend in fading film star Sofia Wentworth, and a genuine love interest in Sofia’s brother Fred, who has the audacity to be handsome, clever and kind-hearted.
She is also delighted to discover that she is now a famous writer, a published author of six novels and beloved around the globe. But as Jane’s romance with Fred blossoms, her presence in the literary world starts to waver. She must find a way to stop herself disappearing from history before it’s too late.
A modern-day reimagining of the life of one of the world’s most celebrated writers, this wonderfully witty romantic comedy offers a new side to Jane’s story, which sees her having to choose between true love in the present and her career as a writer in the past.
*A longer review will appear in the Chronicle, a publication put out by the Jane Austen Society of Australia
This book has it all – history, romance, time travel, and friendship, and lots of nods to the arts. Givney references Jane Austen’s work in various ways – Sofia is making a movie of Northanger Abbey, Fred Wentworth is a character from Jane’s final novel, Persuasion, and Jane must overcome her prejudices against Fred and the strange new times she finds herself in, just as Elizabeth and Darcy do in Pride and Prejudice.
As readers, we do not truly know what inspired these novels for Jane. Givney has written a fantastical time travel story that brings themes of fantasy, witchcraft and time travel deftly contemporary story that still manages to encapsulate the wonder of these themes. It tells a rather compelling story of what might have been, of what could have happened. Givney makes her magic and time travel quite believable for readers. And in making sure that the three central characters – Jane, Sofia and Frederick – are the only ones who know about the time travel, apart from a librarian Sofia reaches out to – nobody else interferes, the secret is safe, and with any luck, Sofia can help Jane retain her place in history.
This book was right down my alley for several reasons. One, Jane Austen – I’m busy devouring her works and related books about her this year and adding this one to my list is a great thing. Second, I always love a good book that involves time travel and a touch of romance – and done in a way that allows for the other characters and other aspects to be explored. Getting Jane back to 1803 was equally important as the romance in the story, and this made the book interesting – would Jane get back, and how?
Having the romance with Fred begin as Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s did was also fun. The mystery and multi-genre feel of the book work extremely well – it was a book that I longed to stay with, that I didn’t want to put down and occupied many hours of my time. It is a delightful romantic comedy as well – invoking several tropes often seen in the movies we love today such as Bridget Jones, and other movies based on Jane Austen’s works. It toys with the idea of what to do – and what one’s greatest love is. Only Jane can decide though – and she must choose one. She cannot have both.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and recommend it to fans of Jane Austen and romantic comedies. I hope those who end up picking it up enjoy it when they do read
‘Dialogue and interplay are fantastic. The characters and storyline completely “hooked” me. Loved the ending.’ – Megan O’Brien, bookseller