Do you consider yourself a Janeite? Have you read every Jane Austen novel so many times that you know Lizzy, Emma and Maryanne almost as well as your real life friends? Perhaps you feel more connected to the author than her characters?
Well, for Lily Berry, Jane Austen is more of an imaginary friend who offers advice about life and romance. Lily is guided by her friend as she gets to spend a summer in England re-enacting Mansfield Park, a great opportunity to escape the reality of her recent losses- mom, boyfriend and job.
I admit to being a bit of a Janeite- I have read all her novels and have also enjoyed reading a couple of the new Austen inspired books. Surprisingly, My Jane Austen Summer seems to share some similarities with the two . In According to Jane by Marilyn Brandt, the protagonist hears Jane speaking to her in her head giving her advice and warnings about the men in her life. The protagonist in Shannon Hale's Austenland spends her vacation in an estate where guests get to live out their Austen fantasies.
Yes, there are similarities but there also differences that sets it apart and makes it a very different read from the two novels I mentioned. I enjoyed the drama of setting up the re-enactment and imagining how much fun it would be to experience that. I also have to admit to really liking Fanny Price as does Lily. She doesn't get as much love as the other Austen heroines.