Straitlaced engineer Nicola James has had her entire future mapped out since the age of thirteen. “The Plan” leaves little time for romance and certainly no time for magic journals that write back. But that is exactly what she finds when the journal she buys at an antiques stores, hidden among a set of Jane Austen novels, offers up its own critiques of her innermost thoughts. A self-professed “Janeite,” Nicola wonders if the spirit of Jane Austen, whom she dubs “Fairy Jane,” is somehow wreaking havoc on her love life. Fairy Jane’s advice leads her into a passionate romance with sexy Scotsman Sean MacInnes, forcing Nic to choose whether to follow her plan — or her heart.
I picked up this book because I am a huge Jane Austen fan. Unfortunately, I didn’t find Nicola overly likeable as a character and certainly not worthy of comparison to an Austen heroine despite the frequent attempts made to compare her situation to Elizabeth Bennett’s. I don’t think the analogy really worked. Sure, Nic is hesitant to get involved with Sean at first, but he is never rude to her the way Darcy is to Lizzie, quite the opposite in fact. I found Nicola’s anal-retentiveness exasperating at times. Also, I get that she loves cupcakes but is it really necessary for her to bake them every day? And still go out the cupcake bakeries for more? Seriously, how is this girl not obese? But I digress. My complaints aside, Austentatious is a light read perfect for the beach, a piece of sugary fluff, not unlike one of Nicola’s prized cupcakes, that will satisfy your craving for romance.