Jane and Austen
I’m a fan of Austen’s work, so this mash up of situations and circumstances pulling from her published works looked fun, and a chance to sample yet another Austen-inspired story.
Jane is out of university and working as an intern to the events planner at North Abbey, a B & B turned upscale resort. For me, Jane is almost a picture perfect caricature of Emma: a bit obsessed with her ‘vision’ of how things should be, obsessed with romance for romance’s sake, completely ignoring the realities. It was a bit of a ‘getting used to” period for Jane’s overly enthusiastic proclamations of her ‘devoted romanticism”, which while passably believable all seemed to be gleaned from film school director’s notes; dressing her characters with Regency era clothing, reverting to a moderately-accurate approach of mannerisms, while pulling some tragically teen-aged dialogue and situations into her daydreams. It was hard to see her as a functional adult with the screaming daydream moments that felt very juvenile.
Austen is the son of the couple that owns the North Abbey, and wants to be off working in finance rather than hospitality. Friendly and open with Jane, Austen is the ultimate bean counter: rather clueless about body language cues, with a strong pragmatic streak. He and Jane had a comfortable friendship that Jane had built into a major romance, second-guessing his every move and romanticizing every moment. When he heads to Boston for a job opportunity, she is utterly despondent and convinced her love has walked away. She’s back and forth about him and her feelings, and never quite ‘settled”.
Back and forth between the two, mixing in several secondary characters that appear quickly with little introduction and various levels of impact: it is often a bit of a crush trying to keep them all straight. With the constant twists trying to name characters as ‘stand ins’ for characters from Austen stories, the Fower’s references and character-mixing are clever. Lighthearted, exceedingly fast paced and some embarrassing situations that are cleverly detailed, the story is a light moment, perfect for relaxing and enjoying the ride.
Narration is provided by Andrea Emmes, and while I applaud her attempts to assign voices and approaches to each character, there were some issues that were distracting and inconsistent. Jane’s voice felt real and appropriate, and her simple pacing changes to indicate Austen’s voice were solidly performed. But the inconsistent application of British accents for both Chuck and Dancey as well as simple mispronunciations: parentses for parent’s, guyses for guy’s and furlise for Für Elise were major issues for me, more disruptive than the often overly saccharine squeak-toy voice for Ann Marie and the breathy, almost shrill voice for the supposed “star event planner” Taylor. A heavily interactive story with lots of dialogue and quick switches, I can’t help but wonder if a performance that wasn’t quite so focused on defined characters would have been a smoother listen.
Despite all of this, the story was amusing, and went quickly, keeping me intrigued as I followed along through the wedding week that was the major focus of the story. From fairly straightforward if not entirely logical, the story becomes a soap opera-esque series of miscommunication, dramatic events near farcical moments: as if Fower is in on some cosmic joke that only Jane Austen knew as she penned her stories and poked at her characters.
Stars: Overall: 3 Narration: 3 Story: 3
Title: Jane and Austen
Author: Stephanie Fowers
Narrator: Andrea Emmes
Published on: 26 June, 2014
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 13 minutes
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Jane and Austen: a Sweet Romance
Meet Jane—an impractical, starry-eyed wedding planner; if love can’t match what she’s read in a book, she doesn’t want it. And then there’s Austen—a pragmatic, logical-to-a-fault financial consultant; even if he were interested in someone, he wouldn’t know.
The two have one thing in common: they can’t leave each other alone. Jane believes that if Austen could just experience a fairy tale romance, he would secretly love it. And Austen’s pretty sure that if one of Jane’s beloved heroes escaped from the pages of her dog-eared novels, she’d run and hide.
Both are about to be proven right.
When the rivals are called upon to help a friend plan the biggest wedding of the year, an entire resort full of colorful wedding guests descend upon them—many sharing uncanny similarities to characters in a Jane Austen novel. It doesn’t take long before Jane gets everything she thinks she wants. After all, too much of a good thing can’t be all that bad, right?
But when Jane’s life turns upside down, the only one she can turn to is Austen; though she’s afraid he’s got his own troubles of the heart…and he's enjoying them more than he should.
A copy of this title was provided via Narrator for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.