Basic Premise: Two women, Jane Mansfield, a contemporary of Jane Austen although she’s never met the author, and Courtney Stone, an Austen fan in present day LA, switch bodies a la Freaky Friday. From there, each woman has to learn to navigate the new society and life. Hilarity, confusion, and a sweet story evolve from there.
I enjoyed the new experiences each woman faced. Even though Courtney is an Austen addict, she has now idea of what life was really like back in the Regency era. Likewise, Jane cannot even fathom life in the 21st century. Specifically Courtney is appalled at the hygiene of the 19th century (something I know I would never get used to; I love indoor plumbing and soap). Although Jane has muscle memory for things like driving a car, her amazement at the new fangled gadgets of our time are delightful. It’s almost like a kid discovering a new trick or phrase. Her glee at figuring out the “new” is infectious.
The characters were likable, flaws and all. Each woman had her misconceptions and prejudices that the other had to deal with in order to be happy in that life or her original. The supporting cast had a good blend of obvious cads, close friends, meddling parents, potential love interests, and enemies. I enjoyed the exchanges between characters, especially when the women were insistent that each was someone else.
The setting descriptions were realistic and attentive without dwelling too much on the detail. The author obviously did her research on Regency era England settings. I could really picture the places in my mind. LA was, well, LA, but that’s okay. It was a nice dichotomy of the worlds, time and place. Even the characters comment on the settings, which is definitely appropriate considering the circumstances.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed these books. I didn’t realize when I read the first one that there would be a sequel. I am glad I happened upon it at the library or I never would have known Jane’s side of the story. A definite must read for all Jane Austen addicts out there.