Book Review: The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright and Cass Grafton

Book Review: The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen by Ada Bright and Cass Grafton

Title: The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen (The Austen Adventures #2)

Authors: Ada Bright and Cass Grafton

Publisher: Canelo

Publication date: November 7, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction

Summary: The second book in the series, it picks up just where the first book ended. Just as Rose and Aiden have revealed their feelings to each other, Jane Austen pops back into Rose’s life. This time, she intends on taking Rose and Aiden back in time with her to 1813 with the sole intention of introducing Rose to the Austens’ eccentric neighbor, someone who might even have a connection to Rose herself.

As a fan of Jane Austen, I couldn’t pass up the first book in this series, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen. It was a fully contained story, though it did leave the door open for another adventure. I was hoping there would be more; I really wanted more of Jane! I was so excited when I was invited to read the next book, and now I can’t wait for the next one.

I loved Jane in the first book. She was fun, interesting, headstrong, and felt authentic. I had been disappointed that she was only present for part of the book, so I was glad to realize she was fully involved with the majority of the second book’s story. But, while I enjoyed her character, she became a little tiresome. That’s not to say she wasn’t done well, but maybe there wasn’t much variety to her character. She felt a bit brusque, brushing off Rose’s questions and concerns until it was more convenient for her. It almost felt like she thought herself better than everyone else. Her sister, Cassandra, though, was absolutely lovely, adding a softness than Jane lacked. The book also introduced a couple of the Austen brothers, who were interesting and delightful in their own way. Charles, particularly, was very enjoyable to read.

As for Rose and Aiden and their blossoming romance, I very much enjoyed reading how they had to be very careful about not showing too much modern affection during a time where hand holding wasn’t even acceptable. I loved that their relationship made some strides and Rose had the very normal and typical worries about Aiden’s affections towards her, but still managed to keep it believable. As they had to be chaperoned and could only speak openly under the cover of night or by permission from a member of the Austen family (so as not to ruin anyone of the time period’s reputation), I somehow found their romance to be much more meaningful and deeper.

The story was enjoyable, but a little disappointing. I loved that Rose and Aiden were given the opportunity to travel back in time and experience the Regency period with all its fashions, foods, and etiquette. But the story seemed to move slowly. It was interesting to read how they adjusted and the reason why Jane brought them back in time was heartwarming, but, other than a wrench thrown into their time travel plans, there wasn’t much to the story.

I did enjoy that the time and place felt authentic. It reminded me of Jane Austen’s novels, and I loved how Rose was able to go from simply knowing and loving the particulars to experiencing them. I particularly liked that it wasn’t actually as comfortable as she might have liked! It was sometimes a little hard to imagine how the place looked as there was so much open space and I sometimes mixed up where this or that plant was located and how the specific areas differed from where they were, or weren’t there, in the present day.

I think the only thing that really disappointed me was that this book brought up more questions than answers. It gave a good backstory to Jane’s charm and how it worked, as well as who it came from, but it just raised more questions about how it worked. I wonder if that’s because the authors are not completely clear on it yet or if the characters are using the charm with very little real understanding of it. Regardless, I have more questions about how it works than I did with the first book.

Overall, this was a fun book and I loved that Rose got to travel back in time and actually stay in the same house as her favorite author. I came out of it a little confused, but still found the story to be enjoyable. I wish Morgan and James had been seen more, but their roles, or non-roles, added some nice tension.

How many cups of tea will you need?

4 cups, I think, should do nicely

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Thank you to NetGalley and Canelo for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Check out my review of the first book in the series or find all of my book reviews on the Bookshelf.

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