|A & C Black|
the observer Sat 18 April 2009
Colin Firth striding about the grounds of Pemberley in his wet shirt has a lot to answer for. That particular BBC adaptation marked the dawn of an era in which Austen-mania began to take a slightly painful literary form. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, though, is great fun. Courtney is a modern Los Angeles girl - smoking, drinking and generally self-medicating with takeaways and Austen novels since she broke up with her cheating fiance.
Then one day, she wakes up in the body of a girl called Jane Mansfield in 19th-century England and must navigate her new life, wondering all the while what to do with the unfinished business back in 21st-century LA. Rigler has done a lovely job, balancing the Regency fantasy with enough modern sass to avoid things cloying and also, crucially, making Courtney easy to relate to. Will it win the Booker? Absolutely not, but I'm not ashamed to say that I spent a blissful day with it.
the guardian Fri 10 April 2009
That contemporary writers continue to turn to the wisdom of Jane Austen to solve modern relationship dilemmas comes as no surprise. Rigler gushingly transports LA Valley Girl Courtney Stone to the England of 1813 and the rebellious body of Jane Mansfield. Jane - at 30 over the hill even by Austen standards - is reluctantly on the marriage market under the gimlet gaze of her mother. The object of her confused affections is attractive, wealthy widower Charles Edgeworth - infinitely less grumpy than Mr Darcy, but with some serious philandering in his recent past. For loud-mouthed Courtney, herself recently bruised by unreliable fiancé Frank, it is preferable to adopt Jane's persona rather than reveal who she is and risk banishment to an asylum. An enjoyably silly romp, stuffed with Austen prototypes (if none of her astuteness), follows, highly diverting though flimsy as a muslin gown.