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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Bilson

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright and Cass Grafton

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen

When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it's up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she's the only one who knows that Jane exists!

Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…

But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.

Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It's not worth living in!

My Review:

What if Jane Austen was a time traveller? What if she travelled forward, to our time, to Bath, and found herself attending the Jane Austen Festival?

Well, in this story, that’s exactly what happens… and a lot more besides, because Jane gets stuck, unable to go home… and therefore, her books were never published. The only one who knows is Rose, a devoted Janeite who suddenly discovers herself living in a world where Austen’s works never existed, with a desperate mission to get Jane home and herself back to the timeline she wants to be in.

In any story involving time travel, there are always a lot of unanswered questions. If Jane’s absence from the past has such a dramatic effect on the future, why doesn’t her coming to the future cause any changes in the past? It felt like such a huge missed opportunity, to me, when at the end of the book everything is basically just back to ‘the way it was’ even if things are open for a sequel. I think I’d have enjoyed it a lot more if Rose had discovered her comments to Jane did change the past. Maybe she’d find that Jane wrote sixteen novels, not six. Now THAT’S what I’d call a change for the better. I’d have at least had Jane write one more book, with a heroine called Rose, after her friend from the future.

Rose’s romance with an attractive archaeologist was nicely done, not overpowering the main story, as was Morgan’s side romance with James, Rose’s boss. Rose showed some really excellent character growth, too, spending time in the ‘wrong’ timeline bringing home to her what the most important things in her life are and inspiring her to make a few changes to bring things about to the way she wants them. Morgan and Rose’s friendship, as internet friends moving into the real world, was beautifully done. I think it’s the ideal many of us with internet friends hope one day to achieve!

There’s lots of fact built into the story, with the locations Austen frequented central themes, and a few interesting tidbits the casual reader might not know, but it did feel at times as though Rose was basically giving a guided tour rather than telling her own story. Combined with the unanswered questions from the time-travel plot, I set this aside with a certain feeling of promise unfulfilled. Four stars.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via Rachel’s Random Resources.

Author Bios –

Cass Grafton

A proud bookworm since childhood, Cass writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.

She has an over-active imagination, is prone to crying with happiness as much as she is at sadness, but when it comes to her writing she leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.

Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine, and enjoys them in any combination. She currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.

Ada Bright

Ada has lived all her life in Southern California, which makes her intolerant to any weather above or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. She grew up much more fond of reading than sports or socializing and still tends to ignore everyone she loves, all her responsibilities and basic life needs when she’s in the middle of a book.

She is luckily married to a handsome and funny man who doesn’t mind that the laundry never gets put away and she has three amazing children. Ada spent over a decade as a photographer before dedicating herself to writing, though she still believes that life should be documented well and often.

There is nothing she loves more than a good, subtle love story whether it be in real life, tv, movie, theatre or book form… well, except cake. She also really loves cake.

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