Book three of the Jane Fairfax trilogy just didn’t live up to Jane Bites Back or Jane Goes Batty. That being said, there were some great moments, but overall it just wasn’t as light or as fun. As an end to the trilogy, it did a decent job wrapping everything up as it should and leaving enough room to keep going if Ford ever decides he wants to write more, but I doubt I’ll read more.
Rather than keeping the story in Upstate New York, Ford takes the traveling circus that is Jane Austen’s new life on the road. From Jane’s best friend, Lucy, to the future mother in law Miriam, everyone who is important either goes along or is named dropped at some point. Ford again introduces a cast of quirky minor characters, but this time they felt lightweight and fluffy. There wasn’t a lot of substance to many of them and I was left wanting.
He did, as I said above, drop in a few great humorous lines. My favorite, once again, returning to the animosity between the Janeites and Brontëites, was this where Jane apparently hides books from her customers,
“Jane knew this because until Lucy had found out and made her stop, she’d kept any book by a Brontë in the back room as well, and generally suggested one of her own to anyone foolish enough to inquire about Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre. (She made an exception for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, keeping a single copy on the shelf out of curiosity to see what kind of person might buy it. So far no one had.)” (188)
Now if you remember correctly, I LOVED The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and think Jane Austen and Anne Brontë would have gotten on well. (No one would like Charlotte and I think she’s a great villain in these.
The other quote that really stood out to me was when Jane and Walter spoke about whether people can change. Last year I had a bit of an identity crisis and felt that no one understood me and who they thought I was, wasn’t who I am and it was a rough time. This quote reminded me of that and the fact that regardless of if we can change we can choose to show off the best of ourselves.
“Jane took his hand and they started to walk back to the house. ‘I don’t know that we ever really change,’ she said. ‘I think we just learn which parts of ourselves to lock away and which ones to bring out more often.'” (231)
Other than that there’s not much to talk about. I enjoyed the traveling to Europe and the surprise ending twists were interesting enough to push me to finish reading faster than I probably would have.
Recommendation: As I series, I would definitely recommend; as a stand alone, I would pass on this one and stick to the first two. This one just wasn’t as funny and wasn’t as well written I felt.
Opening Line: “What about this one?”
Closing Line: “It had, after all, been a very eventful day.” (Whited out, highlight to read.)