Jane Bites Back

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Jane Bites Back

The start of Ford's Austen related novel, featuring the timeless author as a vampire seeking to publish that one last manuscript (which has been rejected 116 times in two centuries) and disgruntled over all the sequels and spin-offs she is not receiving royalties from, is a witty and entertaining read with just the right amount of bite. 

Jane is a curious mix of both 18th century propriety and modern sensibilities as we see her try to navigate a rapidly changing world.  The book begins with an 'Austen' writer energetically pushing her book Waiting for Mr. Darcy to a captive audience, claiming that every woman should wait--chastely--for her own Mr. Darcy the same way that Elizabeth Bennett does.  Jane's inner thoughts are acidic, but amusing as she thinks of a variety of ways she would have described the woman to her long dead sister Cassandra. 

The author makes mention several other famous Austen sequels and spin-offs, including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (which Jane adored and found entertaining) and some hopefully made up titles like The Jane Austen Workout Book, but is careful to keep Jane's opinions fairly neutral.  Her own unpublished manuscript, written in secret and the only piece of writing she was able to secret away after being made a vampire, is a constant battle for her as publisher after publisher rejects it.  At one point she contemplates tossing it out altogether and wondered what all her fanatic fans would say to that.

Jane's vampire nature isn't much of a problem or hindrance honestly.  Aside from the occasional nibble, some nifty glamour powers of persuasion and eternal youth (well eternal youth at the age of 41) there aren't many drawbacks for Jane.  She can go out in the sun, doesn't need to kill to survive and has worked out a reasonable system (aided by each new decades 'keep young longer' strategies) for when she has to leave wherever she's at.  The most surprising turn was who made her a vampire and who else (of literary fame) was made into a vampire. 

This book will appeal to Austen fans and vampire fans a like, it doesn't act like its the best Austen spin off ever, but its an entertaining, witty and fascinating spin on who Jane Austen could have been if she had been turned into a vampire.

Book Blurb for Jane Bites Back

Two hundred years after her death, Jane Austen is still surrounded by the literature she loves—but now it's because she's the owner of Flyleaf Books in a sleepy college town in Upstate New York. Every day she watches her novels fly off the shelves—along with dozens of unauthorized sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations. Jane may be undead, but her books have taken on a life of their own.

To make matters worse, the manuscript she finished just before being turned into a vampire has been rejected by publishers—116 times. Jane longs to let the world know who she is, but when a sudden twist of fate thrusts her back into the spotlight, she must hide her real identity—and fend off a dark man from her past while juggling two modern suitors. Will the inimitable Jane Austen be able to keep her cool in this comedy of manners, or will she show everyone what a woman with a sharp wit and an even sharper set of fangs can do?

Night Owl Reviews Dec, 2009 4.50