Review: the Jane Austen marriage manual by Kim Izzo

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Number of pages: 336

Publisher: HarperCollins

Format: paperback

Rating: ages 18 and up

Genre: romance, relationships

Notes: loosely based on one part of the author’s life

Summary:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Kate is a 40-year-old beauty editor for Haute magazine until her services are no longer needed because of cutbacks. Eventually she finds herself unemployed, homeless, and heartbroken, while overcoming family issues. However an opportunity strikes for Kate, as her love for Austen (and her favorite book Pride and Prejudice) makes her an excellent candidate for writing an Austenique article about how a woman her age can still find love and marry well. Soon Kate finds herself traveling around Europe with an aristocratic title, chasing after Mr. Rich, but not before she falls for Mr. Right. Kate must choose what she wants out of life: true love or throwing it away for money.

My thoughts:

This book was a birthday present for me and as I’ve read a few of Austen’s works, I thought it might be an interesting read for the summer. I’ve never read a contemporary novel with an Austen theme before, so I was careful not to have any high expectations. And now that I’ve read the book without any expectations, I’m a tad disappointed.

Pure Austen fans will not like this novel, as it doesn’t touch on her themes. Obviously there is romance, but the story is nothing like a Jane Austen classic. In fact, it’s entirely the opposite but I won’t say how as I don’t want to reveal any spoilers. I find Kate Shaw a foolish character for chasing after an older and richer man by changing her persona and feigning an aristocratic lifestyle to blend in the high society crowd. But to charm a rich man into marriage just for his money is deceitful. I admit this novel was a page-turner but only because I wanted to see how long Kate’s shenanigan of pretending to be aristocratic was going to last. The story ended in a somewhat satisfying way.

Although this was a foolhardy way to base a story on Jane Austen’s classics, I will give the author credit for adding hilariously awkward moments in the storyline. Those were the only moments I enjoyed reading. I wouldn’t recommend this book to Austen die-hard fans, even if you’re looking for a quick read over the summer then I suggest reading Pride and Prejudice again. At least you’ll enjoy Austen’s characters more than reading the misadventures of a 40-year-old fashion writer doing “field work” for her marriage manual.

I give this book 2 hoots out of 5. Each for the laugh-out-loud moments.

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