Monday, April 8, 2013

Jane Austen Goes To Hollywood by Abby McDonald

Jane Austen Goes To Hollywood by Abby McDonald
Release Date – April 19, 2013
Publisher Website - Candlewick Press
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Abby McDonald gives L.A. the Jane Austen treatment in this contemporary take on Sense and Sensibility.

Hallie and Grace Weston have never exactly seen life eye to eye. So when their father dies and leaves everything to his new wife, forcing the girls to pack up and leave San Francisco for a relative’s house in shiny Beverly Hills, the two sisters take to their changing lot in typically different styles. Shy, responsible Grace manages to make friends with an upbeat, enterprising girl named Palmer but still yearns for her old life — and the maybe-almost-crush she left behind. Meanwhile, drama queen Hallie is throwing herself headlong into life — and love — in L.A., spending every second with gorgeous musician Dakota and warding off the attention of brooding vet Brandon. But is Hallie blinded by the stars in her eyes? And is Grace doomed to forever hug the sidelines?
I adore Jane Austen. I especially have a thing for remakes/modernized versions of her work. While I admit my favourite novel by her is Pride and Prejudice. I do, however, enjoy Sense and Sensibility as well. This take on Sense and Sensibility will delight both people familiar with the story, and those who have yet to read the classic tale.

This novel is quite funny, and charming. It surprised me a little as I was expecting a fluffy read. It is, but it’s characters also have a lot of heart that is sometimes missing in this genre.

The author obviously loves the source material. She took care to pay respect to it, while still making it her own. The transferring of the plot points and characteristics of the characters into a modern setting is done seamlessly. Thought was put into the choices when making the “updates” and more importantly they make sense.

Hallie and Grace are quite different. Hallie is the outgoing, passionate actress, and Grace is the more studious, mature sister. The story is told in dual narrative and gave each character a chance to shine. While I am probably more like Grace personality wise, I was drawn to Hallie’s character a little bit more. She was reckless, impulsive, but took chances for what she wanted. I spent much of the novel wishing I could tell Grace to let loose, go after the things that make her happy. She was a little too selfless.

Portia, Hallie and Grace’s step-mother, was so much fun to dislike. She’s selfish and vile. Her motivations were clear right from the moment we meet her, and it made rooting for the Weston sister’s that much easier.

The inclusion of a witty postscript at the end of the novel delighted me. It provided a fantastic closure to the novel and the characters within it. The humorous heart of the novel really comes through here, and it may be one of my favourite parts of the story. Another little note - do not read the postscript first. Enjoy it after you’ve taken the journey with the characters. It’ll be much more satisfying that way.

Fans of Jane Austen will find much to smile over in this twist on her classic novel. A humorous, and light read that I feel would be served best by reading when you’re in the mood for this type of novel.

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