Well, I definitely needed the quick, brain-break read that Jane and the Damned by Janet Mullany proved to be. I’ll admit, when I first started reading the novel, I thought it was pretty corny and wasn’t sure if I would like it very much. To be honest, I’m still not sure how much I actually like it, but I did find it entertaining.
Mullay’s book follows young Jane Austen, presumably in the mid 1790s, but it is also a time where vampires roam about fairly openly and mingle with society. Spoiler alert: Jane Austen gets turned into a vampire! Since her father is a protestant minister and she doesn’t wish to bring shame to her family, the Austens go to Bath, England to seek a cure to reverse what they refer to as “her condition.” However, while in Bath, she meets another vampire, Luke, who takes it upon himself to show her the ropes of their kind and with whom she falls in love. Meanwhile, the French invade England and the Damned decide to make a stand against the enemy.
As I said before, it was an entertaining read (even if it took a few chapters to really pique my interest) and it was a quick one too! Also, I’m a sucker for romance, as I’ve said before, so I was excited at the prospect of one of my literary favorites to actually have a romantic story…especially since Austen, aka. the queen of early rom-coms didn’t actually have one herself. I also really liked this “new” idea of vampires–honestly, not a fan of the sparkly, Twilight version. The characters are also pretty well developed, which is always something I look for. Finally, I appreciate the effort put in to writing the dialogue and narrative similar to how Austen herself would have written–it made the story seem a little more realistic/time-appropriate.
On one hand, I feel like I want more to happen in the story–it’s just under 300 pages–but at the same time, I don’t think Mullany could have really drawn it out more without making the story somewhat dull. Also, while I realize that Jane’s fate had to end the way Mullany wrote it, I’ll be the first to admit that a part of me wished it would have ended differently–I’ll now always ship Lane…Juke…I’m not sure what their ship-name would be.
Overall, if you like historical fiction, and especially Austen, I think you’ll likely enjoy this novel. However, if you’re not a fan of vampires, it’ll probably make your eyes roll a bit.
That’s all I have for this week! As always, you can send me suggestions for other books. I’m excited to announce that next week’s book, Fiona Davis’s The Address will be the first reader-picked book reviewed on this blog, so look out for it!