I would love to say this is the only vampire inspired fan fiction of Jane Austen I have on my shelf, but it’s not. I won this in a blog raffle from the Mount TBR Challenge back in 2013 hosted by Bev of My Reader’s Block. (I also have a copy of Jane and the Damned, and I’ll be damned if I remember where I got that. Get it? HA!) Regardless, I am familiar with this Michael Thomas Ford through his book, Last Summer, and I was excited to start this one! That being said, his humor and ability to write great characters continues through this novel.
This was such a delightful read! As much as I love the original novels and some times shake my head at the spin-offs and fan fiction novels, this might be one of the best I’ve read! Ford takes Austen-mania, the seemingly constant competitiveness of the Janeites and Brontëites and even the book blogger phenomena, to such an extreme that you can’t help but laugh throughout. (Spoilers ahead!)
This book reminded me a lot of Michael Scott’s The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, or at least a more mature adult version of the series. You have numerous authors who are alive and kicking because they are vampires. Not only is Jane alive, but so are Lord Byron and Charlotte Brontë, remember ridiculousness, and Ford does an excellent job of writing the authors as very old and yet very modern characters.
Jane Austen/Fairfax is incredibly witty and pithy and ahead of her time as much as she can be, being 230+ years old; Lord Byron is a bisexual nightmare; and Charlotte Brontë is as much a controlling dictator as she seems to have been in her life time!
I very much want to read Ford as I feel like we would get along great! When he wrote,
“It was bad enough, she thought, that so many of them had arrived in costume. She counted two dozen Elizabeths, and perhaps a quarter that many Darcys. Although I suppose some of the Elizabeths could be Emmas. Or Mariannes or Catherines or Annes. Possibly some of them were even Fannys, although she doubted this. Very few readers seemed to like Fanny.” (5)
I LOVE Fanny Price. I think she is the most underrated heroine of all of Austen, even though Mansfield Park is not my favorite novel. Add in that he doesn’t seem to be a fan of Charlotte Brontë, but doesn’t exactly despise Anne or Emily, I feel like we’d get along well reading style-wise at least!
I plan to do a post later this summer about being torn between the Janeite and the Brontëite communities, similar to my What About Anne Brontë? posts here, here and here. Seriously though, I’ve even had this conversation at work before!
Recommendation: I would DEFINITELY recommend this! I read it in a day, including a 6ish hour work day so it’s a fast fun summer read. By time this posts I will probably have finished all three novels in the trilogy. I can’t wait to see where it goes.
Opening Line: “It was not, of course, exactly what Jane had written to her sister that long-ago Christmas Eve, but the sentiment was the same.”
Closing Line: “Walter kissed her again. ‘It’s about time,’ he said, taking her by the hand and leading her towards the stairs.” (Whited out, highlight to read.)