Hot on the heels of reading Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, I went to PaperbackSwap.com and grabbed a copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. I wanted to read how Courtney Stone made out trapped in the body of Jane Mansfield, Regency England girl and fellow Austenite.
In this story, which was actually written before Rude Awakenings, Courtney Stone wakes up to find herself in the body of Miss Jane Mansfield, a proper English society girl in the early 1800’s. Jane is dealing with the affections of Mr. Edgeworth, who may or may not be a libertine, and Courtney steps into Jane’s life shortly after she believes she has caught Edgeworth having a dalliance with a servant girl in the stables of his estate.
In addition, Courtney must learn to deal with life in the 1800’s—the medical treatments, the filth, chamber pots, family expectations, servants, fashion, and more. In as much as Jane struggles to deal with life in modern-day L.A., Courtney’s struggles are just as difficult.
For me, I am glad I read Rude Awakenings first, as I liked it much better. Confessions was a good book, it certainly kept me flipping the pages, but perhaps because of the restrictions placed on the character in going backwards in time, I just felt the book was not as compelling. Courtney was not as likeable a character as Jane, she didn’t experience the wonder and joy of discovery and spent more time being negative about the limitations her new surroundings imposed upon her instead of trying to make the best of the situation. Jane did her best to fully participate in life in L.A., but Courtney more than once sat out from some of the goings on, and the things she chose to do often caused problems for the people around her.
Which story is more honest? I would say they are both equally true. Which character is more likeable? Jane. Which love story is more interesting? Seeing as they are roughly parallel, I’d call it a draw. One thing this book had over it than Rude Awakenings was that in either case, I thought, “Gee, if I were so and so, I’d do this and take full advantage of the situation!” and in Confessions, Courtney actually does what I think I would do. You’ll have to read it to find out what that might be.
Yesterday at lunch, I posed the question to friends, “Would you rather wake up and find yourself 200 years in the future or 200 years in the past?” We were split. One friend said he’d rather go backwards, become a brilliant inventor and thus ensure his millions. Another thought going forward would be more interesting. Then we attempted to imagine life in 2210. A lively conversation ensued. Which would you rather do? Wake up in 1810 or in 2210? Knowing that no one you know has ever been born yet, that perhaps you could affect the future in the right circumstances? Or knowing that everyone you know and care about is long dead and everything is new, a whole world to re-learn? I think I would prefer to go forward, but I can’t say that with 100% certainty. It’s tempting to go backwards—at least I’d know what I was getting into just a bit! Let me know what you’d rather do and what you think you might do if you got there!
Three stars on GoodReads and this also counts for the BBC Book Challenge. Unexpectedly, I am at 4 books on the challenge now. I’m dubbing myself BookWorm+ :-) Two more books and I’ll be a LitLover! Woo hoo!