How can anyone resist a title like that? As a former English Major and Jane Austen devotee, when I spied this title in the bookstore I couldn’t pass it up.
In Jane Austen Ruined My Life, Beth Patillo tells the story of Emma, a Jane Austen scholar who believed in Jane Austen’s happy endings until she found her Mr. Knightly in a compromising position with her teaching assistant on her kitchen table. To add insult to injury, the teaching assistant backed by her paramour, a revered Professor and Milton scholar, accuses Emma of plagiarism. Losing her husband and her job, Emma heads off to London, and Hampstead in particular, to try to revive her academic career by finding the long thought destroyed letters of Jane Austen and exposing her as a fraud.
Upon arrival at her cousin’s townhouse in Hampstead, however, she finds that the only other occupant is her former best friend, who just so happens to be male and attractive, whom she hasn’t spoken to since she married her faux Mr. Knightly. The plot thickens.
Jane Austen Ruined My Life, has elements of romance – without being predictable – and mystery as Emma chases the missing letters of Jane Austen. But at bottom it is the tale of a woman putting her life back together and carving out a new life on her own and on her terms.
Emma takes us on a fast, enjoyable ride and shows you how one woman learns to stop compromising for a “fairytale ending” and to follow her essential self’s desires.