Marilyn Brant’s debut novel, According to Jane, is a nice addition to the romance/women’s fiction genre. The novel begins with Ellie Barnett’s teacher passing out their next reading assignment, Pride and Prejudice. To her surprise, while dealing with Sam Blaine sitting behind her, Jane Austen’s voice pops into her head, telling her that he is her Mr. Wickham. So begins her relationship with Jane Austen.
Jane’s voice stays with Ellie, giving advice and friendship, throughout Ellie’s life. She experiences ups and downs in her personal life, always seeming to fall for the wrong man. Jane’s witty advice and conversation keeps her company and even helps her forge a relationship with her sister. In the background of it all is Sam, her first love, who always seems to appear at the wrong time in her life. Ellie learns about life, love, and family in her search for her Mr. Darcy. Even Jane learns a few lessons of her own with Ellie about taking chances.
I really liked this novel, especially Ellie and Sam’s relationship. The men in Ellie’s life have distinct personalities, some likeable and some not so much. Ellie’s experiences made me laugh and cry. In particular, the scene after her prom in the closet stood out, making me cringe in sympathy and fear. Brant’s writing made the characters come to life. I really wanted Ellie to find happiness.
Marilyn Brant has forged herself a place on bookshelves for years to come. I cannot wait til her next novel is published. According to Jane is available now. It is also now available for download on the Amazon Kindle for a huge discount.