What would it be like to meet Jane Austen and talk to her for even five minutes? Laurie Brown's new book, What Would Jane Austen Do?, is a time travel romance in which Eleanor Pottinger, a professional costume designer who has just been dumped by her fiancee, travels back in time 200 years to meet Jane Austen, foil a ghostly plot and thwart a Napoleonic spy, and fall in love with the charming Lord Shermont. Shades of Lost in Austen, Jane Austen Ruined My Life, and Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, whose plot elements Laurie's novel echoes.
Laurie writes about her novel:
During my research, I discovered there is a topaz cross necklace in the Jane Austen’s House Museum at Chawton. Jane’s youngest brother Charles, a sailor, sent both his sisters topaz crosses from Spain. No one knows for sure if the necklace in the museum belonged to Jane or Cassandra. Jane Austen fictionalized that in Mansfield Park by having Fanny Price’s brother William, a naval midshipman, bring her an amber cross from Sicily. I don’t know why Jane Austen changed the facts around in her fiction, but when I used her necklace for a plot thread I respectfully followed her lead. I gave Eleanor Pottinger, my heroine in What Would Jane Austen Do? an amber cross necklace that she inherited from her grandmother. Family legend says the necklace once belonged to Jane Austen. When Eleanor refers to the necklace in the museum, she calls it an amber cross (even though in reality it is topaz). In the book she finds evidence to prove the necklace in the museum truly belonged to Jane Austen. Since it’s fiction, I thought it better to keep my ‘evidence’ totally separate and unlikely to be confused with the real thing. So fictional=amber, real=topaz. If anyone says anything about Jane Austen’s necklace being ‘wrong’ in the book, I can only say she started it."
What Would Jane Austen Do? is available at Sourcebooks now.
Coming in August: Another Marsha Altman book
The Plight of the Darcy Brothers by Marsha Altman. Once again, it falls to Mr. Darcy to prevent a dreadful scandal in the Bennet Family
Darcy and Elizabeth set of posthaste for the Continent in yet another attempt to clear one of the Bennet sister’s reputations (this time it’s Mary). But their madcap journey leads them to discover that the Darcy family has even deeper, darker secrets to hide… Meanwhile, back at Pemberley, the hapless Bingleys try to manage two unruly toddlers; Caroline Bingley’s husband has a wild encounter with King George himself; and the ever-dastardly George Wickham arrives, determined to seize the Darcy fortune once and for all.
Full of surprises, this lively Pride and Prejudice sequel, next after Marsha’s stunning debut with The Darcys & The Bingleys last Fall, plunges the Darcy and Bingleys into a most delightful adventure.