Monday, May 2, 2011

My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park by Cindy Jones

Morrow Paperbacks (March 29, 2011) 352 pages

Description: (from Amazon)
A down on her luck woman goes on an Austen-inspired journey of self-discovery in Jones's middling debut. After Lily Berry loses her mother, gets dumped by her boyfriend, and is fired, she finds in her passion for all things Jane Austen (Jane, indeed, is Lily's imaginary friend) an escape route: she travels to England to participate in a Jane Austen re-enacting festival. Full of enthusiasm—but not acting talent—Lily is not embraced by many of the Janeites, but this doesn't prevent her from meeting a charismatic actor, contending with an impossible roommate, and struggling with dark family secrets, all while trying to find the courage to be the protagonist of her own story.

My Review:
I'll admit I haven't read any of Jane Austen's books. I've tried at least 3 times to read Pride and Prejudice, but I don't think I ever made it halfway through. I adore most of the movies and Jane Austen spin-off books. I've saw the movie, Mansfield Park, and I didn't love it. I assume from watching the movie that it would be my least favorite book of the 6. I DO want to read them, and am determined to do so one day!
My Jane Austen Summer revolves around the book Mansfield Park. IF I had read the book, I might possibly have enjoyed this one more. I don't know. But, I didn't like this one at all. I hate to say this, because it is a debut novel, and more than any other books, I really want to like a debut novel. Unfortunately, though, that wasn't the case with this one.
I didn't like the main character. I didn't connect with her, or really sympathize with her, and I should have!! Throughout the book, though, there's mention of how most people either love or hate Fanny Price. Maybe that was suppose to be the case with Lily? I don't think Fanny put herself in the positions that Lily did, or seemed to have mental problems like Lily, either. Don't get me wrong, if I was going through some of the things Lily did, I'd have problems, too. BUT, she was portrayed as stalker-like, needy, nosy, and desperate for love. I guess I like my heroines to be a bit stronger. I'm not convinced she was really changed at the end...if I can call it an anding. Of all the characters, Omar is the only one that I half-way liked.
I just had a really hard time getting into the book. If I hadn't commited to reviewing it, I probably wouldn't have finished it.
But again, keep in mind that I haven't read Mansfield Park or I may have liked My Jane Austen Summer. It's actually gotten great reviews from lots of others.

Was it clean??
It very easily could have been, but NO, it is not a clean read. Pretty much all of the "minor" words of profanity are used, along with the "f" word 3 times. There's also a couple of "sex" scenes. One you have to pretty much read between the lines to know it's a sex scene and the other was just so weird, I didn't know what to think about it. There's also mention of alcohol a few times.

*I was provided an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.


  1. It's always a bummer when you hope to enjoy a book and discover that you DON"T.

    I have a hard time reading Austen spin-offs. I think because they are typically romances, people want to over exaggerate that particular aspect and it throws a book more into the "unclean" category. Disappointing.

    Glad you mentioned this one. I hadn't heard of it.

  2. The sad thing about this book is despite the unclean parts, there really wasn't much romance going on. I know you don't read romance books, though. :)
    I haven't read many spin-offs yet, but I guess I'm learning how unclean they can be. I was naively under the impression most of them would be clean, like the actual Jane Austen books. :P