Book Review: What Would Jane Austen Do?

Review of the novel by By Linda Corbett

Of course I was going to pick up this book, it’s a phrase very close to my heart. (Have I mentioned my whole “Jane Austen as Life Coach” thing?) Despite the few things I point out that could have been better it was an excellent read and hard to stop thinking about till I finished it. A charming Austen / cosy /chick lit read.

Maddy has the coolest job ever, but like most in Romancelandia not necessarily one you could actually make a living from, she’s an agony aunt in the persona of Jane Austen. After a firing she never investigates (hello employment laws?) she takes an unexpected opportunity to move to the country when she inherits her long-lost-black-sheep-second-cousin’s house. As all small places in books have, quirky characters abound. There’s a Mr Darcy author character, he and his dog end up “lodging” with Maddy.

There’s a romance but all sex is off page, there’s a Wickham character but he doesn’t pack much punch, there’s a mystery but it doesn’t get fully resolved. Why her cousin was ostracised is never explained and his redemption wasn’t much of one either. This could have been explored further. It would have been lovely for her to work out why her cousin chose her to inherit, why he chose never to contact the family (which could have been explained if his reasons for leaving had). Honestly, I assumed he was gay and either he excommunicated himself knowing his parents would disapprove, or they kicked him out.

It’s unfortunate that the cover and even the blurb don’t entirely match the inside of the book, though not an unheard of occurrence in publishing, still disappointing. Equally disappointing is the main character apparently being a journalist but not understanding basic journalistic principles.

Also there were bodies found during a building project? Who cares if they’re ancient! Tell us everything!!