When we first heard about Cindy Jones’ debut novel, My Jane Austen Summer, we were excited to read it. Despite our joking about His Lordship, we really do admire Mansfield Park, and found it refreshing to have an Austen-inspired novel feature MP. Fortunately in this case our anticipation was rewarded with a fun and intelligent novel in which love of Jane Austen’s work, especially Mansfield Park, shows in every word.
Lily Berry is searching for direction: she has lost her job and is grieving for her mother, and her boyfriend has dumped her for an inferior model; he tells Lily, with a shrug, that the new girl is, unlike Lily, “not needy.” Scorched-earth tactics are clearly necessary, and Lily sells all her things to pay for a plane ticket to the UK, where she will take part in Literature Live, in which actors bring Jane Austen’s novels to life in an authentic baronial manor. What better way could a Janeite spend a summer getting her life back together than living inside an actual Jane Austen novel?