Yes, this is my FIRST BLOG GIVEAWAY so please be kind and participate!It begins one day in sophomore English class, just as Ellie Barnett’s teacher is assigning Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. From nowhere comes a quiet “tsk” of displeasure. The target: Sam Blaine, the cute bad boy who’s teasing Ellie mercilessly, just as he has since kindergarten. Entirely unbidden, as Jane might say, the author’s ghost has taken up residence in Ellie’s mind, and seems determined to stay there.
Jane’s wise and witty advice guides Ellie through the hell of adolescence and beyond, serving as the voice she trusts, usually far more than her own. Years and boyfriends come and go—sometimes a little too quickly, sometimes not nearly fast enough. But Jane’s counsel is constant, and on the subject of Sam, quite insistent. Stay away, Jane demands. He is your Mr. Wickham.
Still, everyone has something to learn about love—perhaps even Jane herself. And lately, the voice in Ellie’s head is being drowned out by another, urging her to look beyond everything she thought she knew and seek out her very own, very unexpected, happy ending…
I am not a Jane Austen fanatic. Truthfully (ashamedly), I’ve never even read
the works of Ms. Austen, though I have her large red omnibus on my bookshelf, along with an old garage-sale copy of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and the same book with the irresistible, re-designed cover from Penguin classics. They are on my ever growing, never dwindling shelf of to-be-reads (I’m sure many of you can sympathize).
So even though I’ve never officially been introduced, I now feel I’m on intimate terms with Jane, after hearing her wit and euphemisms through the voice of author Marilyn Brant and in the head of protagonist Ellie Bartlett, in the debut novel ACCORDING TO JANE (Kensington Press, Sept. 29, 2009).
While the premise sounds odd (Jane Austen in a role similar to an invisible friend or “A kind of literary twilight zone thing”), the witty banter, lovable characters and unforgettable story take me to my happy “I don’t actually want this book to end but I just want the characters to find what they’re looking for” place.
Brant manages to jump around time and place without making you lose a second of the story to confusion. She has the rare ability as an author to take you from reliving your awkward high school years along with Ellie (and the traumatic male/female interactions) to within the psyche of a single, searching, adult woman in the next paragraph. Ellie is a unique female protagonist that I find endearing in her failures and utterly relateable in her fears, while trying to find herself (though I wish she weren’t already worried about marriage at the mere age of 26!).
It’s no surprise to me that this book took home the coveted Golden Heart Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements in 2007. Brant has the humor of Sophie Kinsella with the best-friend-esque (made that up) intimacy of Jennifer Weiner. The sex scenes are humorous in an actual funny, relatable way as opposed to the over-done, awkward to read (unless that’s just me) scenarios found in other novels featuring “strong romantic elements.”
In an effort of full disclosure, I was lucky enough to meet Marilyn back in June, when I wrote an article on the romance genre. But, just because I like you doesn’t always mean I’ll like your book – so imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered my friendly, vivacious penpal can translate her personality so splendidly to an entire book! I invite you all to hurry and visit Marilyn at her personal blog Brant Flakes ASAP, so you can boast about how you “knew Marilyn Brant before she was a huge author”! Even better, visit her blog and let her know you’ve already pre-ordered ACCORDING TO JANE and are anxiously awaiting its arrival (discounted to only $10.29 – a steal! I’m thinking book club…)!
I admit, I’ve already read my bound manuscript twice and have thoroughly enjoyed it and found myself laughing even more — in one instance, out loud at sushi by myself in NYC – now that got me some looks.
And now for the fun part:
- Do you like free books?
- Are you a Jane Austen fan?
- Ready for some new chick-lit/women’s light contemporary fiction?
- Enjoy reading a new voice?
Marilyn was nice enough to send me two extra bound manuscripts PERSONALLY SIGNED (!!!) for your reading & reviewing pleasure!!!! Hurry now for these limited pieces.
To enter to win your copy of ACCORDING TO JANE, please comment below including your email address. For an additional entry, share your most embarrassing high school makeout (ok kidding…unless you want to – I would reward you!) – for an extra entry up to 1/day, tweet this giveaway with a link and include my @novelwhore handle. The contest ends Friday, September 25 at 11:59PM EST. I’ll contact the two winners via email, and you must respond within two days to claim your prize.