Rude Awakenings Of A Jane Austen Addict: A Novel

Paperback | February 14, 2013

byLaurie Rigler

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Read Laurie Viera Rigler's posts on the Penguin Blog.

The time-bending parallel tale to the national bestseller Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

In Laurie Viera Rigler's first novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, twenty­first-century Austen fan Courtney Stone found herself in Regency England occupying the body of one Jane Mansfield- with comic and romantic consequences. Now, in Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Jane Mansfield awakens in the urban madness of twenty-first-century L.A.-in Courtney's body. With no knowledge of Courtney's life, let alone her world-with its horseless carriages and shiny glass box in which tiny figures act out her favorite book, Pride and Prejudice-Jane is over her head. Especially when she falls for a handsome young gentleman. Can a girl from Regency England make sense of a world in which kissing and flirting and even the sexual act raise no matrimonial expectations?

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Read Laurie Viera Rigler's posts on the Penguin Blog. The time-bending parallel tale to the national bestseller Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict In Laurie Viera Rigler's first novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, twenty­first-century Austen fan Courtney Stone found herself in Regency England occupying the body of one Jane M...

LAURIE VIERA RIGLER's first novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict,was a national bestseller. A Life Member of the Jane Austen Society ofNorth America, Laurie teaches writing workshops, including classes atVroman's, Southern California's oldest and largest independentbookstore.

other books by Laurie Rigler

Confessions Of A Jane Austen Addict
Confessions Of A Jane Austen Addict

Paperback|Apr 29 2008

$21.00

Tribulations d'une fan de Jane Austen
Tribulations d'une fan de Jane Austen

Kobo ebook|Feb 12 2014

$9.99

Confessions d'une fan de Jane Austen
Confessions d'une fan de Jane Austen

Kobo ebook|Feb 12 2014

$9.99

Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.06 × 5.4 × 0.66 inPublished:February 14, 2013Publisher:PlumeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0452296161

ISBN - 13:9780452296169

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OneA piercing sound, like a ship's horn but higher, shriller, shakes my frame. I open one eye, then the other; the lids seem stuck together. From a gap in the curtains a tiny, knife-thin strip of light slices the darkness. I clap my hands over my ears, but the sound is relentless. As is the pain. It feels as if an entire regiment of soldiers marches behind my eyes. "Barnes?" My voice is a faint croak, too weak for Barnes to hear. No matter; she will of course be roused by the high-pitched horn. Only a corpse could sleep through such a cacophony.Why hasn't Barnes put a stop to that blasted noise? I fumble for the bell pull behind me, but my hand feels only bare wall. Odd. I shall have to get out of bed and find Barnes myself.I swing my legs over the side of the bed; they hit the floor instead of dangling a few inches above it. Could a headache make one's bed seem lower than it is? The worst of my headaches have been heralded by broken rainbows of light before my eyes, but never have I experienced such a lowering sensation. Lowering indeed. I can almost laugh at my facility with words this morning, despite the sorry state of my head. And my ears. How harsh and insistent is that sound.My feet touch bare wood floor instead of the woven rug in its customary place. And my bed shoes? Not there. I fumble in the dark and crash my right hip into a great lump of wood; blast it all to—I clench my teeth in an effort not to scream. This is enough punishment to put even the punster in me to rest. Barnes must be rearranging furniture again. Except—There are numbers, glowing red, on top of the offending lump of wood. 8 0 8. What is this wondrous thing? The numbers are in some sort of a box, the front of it smooth and cold beneath my fingertips; the top of it scored and bumpy. I run my fingers over the bumps, and the shrill sound stops. Oh, thank heaven.Blessed silence. I move toward the thin strip of light to open the curtains wide; surely the sun's rays shall reveal the source of this odd geographic puzzle that has become my room. But instead of the thick velvet nap of the curtains that have hung on my windows these five years at least, my hands grasp what feels like coarse burlap. Perhaps Barnes slipped in early and exchanged them so that she could beat the dust from the velvet ones. First the rearrangement of furniture, then this. I have never known her to engage in such haphazard housekeeping.I grasp the edges of the burlap curtains—why are my hands shaking? I pull them open.There are iron bars on my window.I hear myself gasp. This is not, cannot, be my window. Indeed, as I wheel around to take in the space behind me, I see that this is not my room. Head pounding, I survey the tall, unornamented chest of drawers; the wide, low bed devoid of hangings; the box with the glowing numbers atop the chest. There is no pink marble fireplace, no armoire, no dressing table. There is, however, a low table bearing a large, rectangular box made mostly of glass and a shiny-smooth, gray material that I have never seen before.My knees shake, almost buckling under me. I must move to the bed; just a minute of sitting down will be a restorative.I sink down atop a tangle of bedclothes, and the glass box roars to life.I jump back, clutching the covers. There are small figures talking and dancing inside the glass box. Who are they? Is this some sort of window? The figures are small, so they must be some distance away. Yet I can distinguish their words and their features as clearly as if they were right in the room with me. How can this be?"I remember hearing you once say," says the beautiful lady in the window to the gentleman dancing with her, "that you hardly ever forgave. That your resentment, once created, was implacable. You are very careful, are you not, in allowing your resentment to be created?"The gentleman dancing with her says, "I am." "And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice?" asks the lady."I hope not," says the gentleman. May I ask to what these questions tend?""Merely to the illustration of your character," says she. "I'm trying to make it out."I know these words—I have read them! It is the Netherfield Ball from my favorite book, Pride and Prejudice, and the gentleman and lady are Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. To think that Elizabeth and Darcy are real people, and that I am watching them, right now, through a window! This is something I cannot explain, nor can I make sense of the fact that they are apparently far away yet completely distinguishable.I shall call out to the lady and see if she can solve the mystery. "I beg your pardon, Miss Bennet. We have not been introduced, but I seem to be your neighbor, and I am lost. Can you hear me?"But the brightly lit figures in the window make no sign of having heard me, though I continue to hear their conversation as clearly as if they were right here in the room with me.I reach out my hand to the glass box and touch its hard, shiny surface. I tap on the glass to see if I can get the attention of the figures inside; no luck. I move my face closer to the glass to see if I can get a better look, but indeed the figures look flatter and less real somehow the closer I am to the window. How very curious.But that is not the worst of it. Odder still is the sound of my own voice, which is, as a matter of fact, not my voice at all. "Hello? Miss Bennet?" I say, marveling at the tone and accent of what issues from my own mouth, and not at this point expecting Miss Bennet to hear me. The voice is not my own, the accent having hints of something almost of Bristol and perhaps a bit like Captain Stevens sounded when he was imitating people who lived in the Americas. How incensed my mother would be if she could hear me speak like a barbaric American. Delightful thought.I glance around the strange room again, and at the glass window with the people from Pride and Prejudice conversing with one another as if I were not here trying to get their attention, and all at once I understand: Of course. I am having a dream. Nothing like the other dreams I have had in which I also knew I was dreaming, but a dream nevertheless. What a relief to know that I do not have to ascertain where I am or find my way back to my own room; all I have to do is wake up. In the meantime, I shall divert myself by finding out if Barnes is here, and, if so, where; surely she would delight as much as I in the wondrous sight and sound of Lizzy and Darcy dancing in the glass rectangle. I shall put on my dressing gown and explore. Where might the gowns be kept? I open a door, revealing at least two yards of hanging garments, none of which look like my own clothes. I pull out a long, filmy, sashed thing; it might do. If only there were a looking-glass. Ah, there it is; on the other side of the door to this vast repository of garments. I pull open the door and see a petite, pale-haired young woman in the glass. She and I gasp in unison. I wheel around, for the woman must be behind me, but there is only the empty room. Except for Miss Bennet and Mr. Darcy, that is. I turn back to the mirror and the truth literally stares me in the face: I am looking at my own reflection.

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTIONThe eagerly anticipated sequel to Confessions of a Jane Austen AddictLaurie Viera Rigler’s debut novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, was a hit with fans and critics, and a BookSense andLos Angeles Times bestseller. Its open-to-interpretation ending left readers begging for more—and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict delivers. While Confessions took twenty-first-century free spirit Courtney Stone into the social confines of Jane Austen’s era, Rude Awakenings tells the parallel story of Jane Mansfield, a gentleman’s daughter from Regency England who inexplicably awakens in Courtney’s overly wired and morally confused L.A. life.For Jane, the modern world is not wholly disagreeable. Her apartment may be smaller than a dressing closet, but it is fitted up with lights that burn without candles, machines that wash bodies and clothes, and a glossy rectangle in which tiny people perform scenes from her favorite book, Pride and Prejudice. Granted, if she wants to travel she may have to drive a formidable metal carriage, but she may do so without a chaperone. And oh, what places she goes! Public assemblies that pulsate with pounding music. Unbound hair and unrestricted clothing. The freedom to say what she wants when she wants—even to men without a proper introduction.Jane relishes the privacy, independence, even the power to earn her own money. But how is she to fathom her employer’s incomprehensible dictates about “syncing a BlackBerry” and “rolling a call”? How can she navigate a world in which entire publications are devoted to brides but flirting and kissing and even the sexual act itself raise no matrimonial expectations? Even more bewildering are the memories that are not her own. And the friend named Wes, who is as attractive and confusing to Jane as the man who broke her heart back home. It’s enough to make her wonder if she would be better off in her own time, where at least the rules are clear—that is, if returning is even an option.ABOUT LAURIE VIERA RIGLERWhen not indulging herself in rereadings of Jane Austen's six novels, Laurie Viera Rigler is a freelance book editor who teaches writing workshops, including classes at Vroman's, Southern California's oldest and largest independent bookstore. Laurie lives in Los Angeles and holds a lifetime membership in the Jane Austen Society of North America.DISCUSSION QUESTIONS”One man's ways may be as good as another's, but we all like our own best.” —Admiral Croft, Jane Austen'sPersuasionIf you grew up in Jane Austen's world, do you think your most difficult adjustment to twenty-first-century life would be its technological intricacies, the amount of information you are expected to process in a given day, or our confusing and conflicting moral codes? "…there is not one in a hundred of either sex who is not taken in when they marry. Look where I will, I see that it is so; and I feel that it must be so, when I consider that it is, of all transactions, the one in which people expect most from others, and are least honest themselves." —Mary Crawford, in Jane Austen's Mansfield ParkWould you rather make your way through courtship and marriage in Jane Austen's day or in today's world? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each time period's dating rules and rituals?"Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it." —Catherine Morland, in Jane Austen's Northanger AbbeyIn the book, Jane reads the novels of Jane Austen for comfort and guidance as she attempts to navigate the confusing modern world. Have you ever turned to Jane Austen for comfort and guidance? Are there other authors that serve that purpose for you? How have their works been helpful to you?This was strange indeed! But strange things may be generally accounted for if their cause be fairly searched out.—Jane Austen's Northanger AbbeyOn two occasions Jane consults a mysterious lady in Deepa's club. Who do you think this lady is, and where does she come from? Have you ever had an extraordinary encounter with someone that you could not explain in "rational" terms?…a sanguine temper, though for ever expecting more good than occurs, does not always pay for its hopes by any proportionate depression. It soon flies over the present failure, and begins to hope again.—Jane Austen's EmmaWhat do you think the lady in Deepa's club meant by "It is my belief that each of us makes his own fortune, and, as a matter of fact, tells it as well"? Did Jane make her own fortune, and tell it as well?"It is particularly incumbent on those who never change their opinion, to be secure of judging properly at first." —Elizabeth Bennet, in Jane Austen's Pride and PrejudiceAt one point in the story, the lady reminds Jane of the above line from Pride and Prejudice in trying to show Jane that she is being unfairly judgmental of Courtney's choices with respect to the men in her life. She adds, "Even if a man who looks like a thief is, indeed, a thief, that is not the whole story. Only by stepping into his shoes can you begin to comprehend what made him a thief, and what else he is besides a thief, for we are not only just one thing, we are many. You of all people should know that."Do you agree or disagree? Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.—Jane Austen's Pride and PrejudiceAnother thing the lady said to Jane was also in response to Jane's bewilderment at the sexual mores of the twenty-first century, "The only difference between today's world and your world is that people have more choices now than they did then."Do you agree or disagree? Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody, not greatly in fault themselves, to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.—Jane Austen's Mansfield ParkHow do you see Jane's life progressing after the book ends? Do you see her perfectly content in her life as Courtney, or do you see her longing to return to the nineteenth century? Do you think she ever will return to her own time? Or will the twentieth century become her own time?…I must endeavour to be satisfied with ignorance." "Not that I shall, though," she added to herself…—Elizabeth Bennet, in Jane Austen's Pride and PrejudiceDo you think you are more suited to live in the twenty-first century, or in an earlier time? Why? If your choice would be to live in an earlier time, do you think you would be better off with no knowledge of the twenty-first-century world, or with full, experiential knowledge of it?