Skip to Content

Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Jane Austen Ruined my Life

Author: Beth Pattillo
Originally Published: 2009
Publisher: Guideposts

The Story

In an attempt to get over her husband cheating on her (with her T.A.), and an attempt to salvage her ruined career, Emma runs off to London, England. She is determined that she is going to find some undiscovered letters written by Jane Austen, and has been contacted by a woman who says she has some of these letters. Only, in order to even see the letters, Emma must accomplish certain tasks first.

Of course, it doesn’t help that her ex-best-friend (who happens to be a guy) also happens to be in town, and in some mix-up is visiting with the same friend. How convenient. Even more convenient is that they both still seem to have feeling for each other. Now, where do you suppose this is going?

The Response

Okay. I will admit that I went into this book expecting to get fed-up and angry. I went into this book knowing it was by a Christian author, published by a Christian publisher, etc. etc. etc. So I was on the lookout for over-the-top shoving-Christianity-down-your-throat stuff. Even for lesser intense “omg God rawks” throughout the book. And … I have to say that I’m both a little disappointed and hugely relieved that I did not find it.

This works as a good cross-over into mainstream fiction. The only real mentions of Christianity and God and such were when the main character was talking about her past – how her father is a pastor, and she grew up as the PK – and how she totally resents God for how her marriage didn’t end all happy and hunky dory. It’s not preachy, and quite frankly that surprised me.

It wasn’t a bad novel for chicklit either. Emma, the main character, wasn’t a flake. At all. She was a strong, educated woman who has just realized that she cannot depend on a man for her life. And she is able to be independent when she can be – which is slightly difficult when one doesn’t have a job, and spent all of one’s savings on an airplane ticket halfway across the world.

So, altogether, not a bad book at all. Got me out of my not-finishing-books slump, that’s for sure.

The Bottom Line

Not the best Jane Austen inspired book… I definitely would recommend Shannon Hale’s Austenland over this one, but it was good for what it was. Would, however, be interested to see if other books by Pattillo are as non-shoving-Christianity-in-your-face as this one is.

Other Reviews

Book Addiction, The Novel World, Alison’s Book Marks, One Literature Nut, Framed and Booked. Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Let me know and I’ll add your link.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 9:27 pm August 25, 2010.
Category: Chick Lit
Book Author(s):
Publisher(s):

  • http://www.read-all-over.net/ Teresa

    Oo yay! Glad to hear it isn’t preachy! Makes me want to read it even more.

    We have another book of hers at the library I work at, but I’ve stayed away from it due to the publisher. I was afraid it might be too in your face with religion and such. Looking forward to hear about any of her other books you read. :)

  • otahyoni

    I read this one a while back. It was enjoyable in the moment, but as soon as it was over, my brain went, “Well…that was mediocre.”

    I do still love that cover, though.

    Ooh. I should read Austenland.