Only a very small part of me wishes I could say this was the first Jane Austen/Vampire fiction mash-up I’ve read. I can’t even lie and say this is the second. I read the Jane Fairfax trilogy by Michael Thomas Ford (Jane Bites Back, Jane Goes Batty, and Jane Vows Vengeance) back in 2015, so I guess in my weird little world I was overdue. Strangely enough, the trilogy Ford wrote could easily be a continuation of this trilogy if the two books end with Jane staying a vampire, and that would be hilarious, to me at least.
Jane and the Damned has been on my shelf for almost SIX years. I didn’t realize that until I just searched the blog to see if it was on here already. I ended up blazing through it this past weekend because we went to the park to enjoy the weather for a few hours. I needed something quick and either a physical book or on my Kindle because the galley I’m reading is on my iPad and those are not great to read outside.
I won’t lie, I struggled a bit with this one at first. If there is one thing I didn’t like about the novel it was the opening dialogue. It just DIDN’T work. There was another point where Mullany went back to the same type of dialogue and it stuck out like a sore thumb. When she wasn’t super conscious about the language, she actually wrote pretty decent dialogue and witty banter between the characters.
This was a sort of mash-up of Jane Austen’s actual life and bits and pieces from her novels. It took place in Bath during an alternative timeline when the French are invading and of course the Damned (AKA vampires) are acceptable company and commonplace. Jane is bit early on and they go to Bath to restore her mortality and then she decides she’s going to play Vamp for a bit to help keep the French out of England. There’s more to it than that, but suffice to say there’s some romance, some drama, and a lot of blood.
I did like that the novel focused on Jane Austen’s closeness to her family and the choices she had to make to keep them safe. It very much fit in with the novels that she wrote and the bits that are preserved about her life. It seemed as true to character as could be and the way Mullany amped up Austen’s sassiness once she became one of the Damned.
The ending left a bit to be desired, but knowing there is a second novel I’m not too concerned about it. I liked that it ended with the above mentioned sassiness.
Recommendation: If you can get through the horrible dialogue in the first 15-20 pages and don’t mind a bit of paranormal romance then it’s an okay read. I think I prefer the first Austen vampire trilogy, but I’ll hold out judgment until I finish the second book, Blood Persuasion in this duology.
Opening Line: “Declined by return of post.”
Closing Line: “She looked straight at him, smiling faintly, and raised the glass in a gallant, ironic toast.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)