Austentatious

Alyssa Goodnight. Kensington, $15 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-7582-6743-6
Jane Austen meets Austin, Tex., in this fast-paced, quirky novel about the unpredictability of love. Nicola James, a no-nonsense engineer, made a life plan when she was 13 and since then, all of her decisions had to fit The Plan, including romance. Her single deviation from this serious approach to life is a weakness for Jane Austen. Nicola's life changes abruptly when she purchases a vintage journal shelved near a worn copy of Pride and Prejudice in an antique shop. Although her friends consistently urge Nicola to scrap The Plan, it's the mischievous journal that provides an incentive when she opens it to read, "Miss Nicola James will be sensible and indulge in a little romance," a vastly abbreviated version of her entry about an upcoming co-worker's wedding. Curious, she adds another entry, only to find it becomes playfully edited, too. She attends the wedding solo, hoping to attract the attention of a predictable engineering co-worker, but develops an infatuation with Sean MacInnes, an iconoclastic Scottish rock musician. As he single-mindedly pursues her, forcing her out of her comfort zone, Nicola struggles to ignore her heart and adhere to The Plan. Goodnight's breezy style with a believable heroine, lively conflicts and lots of best-friend confidences elevates this above the usual chick lit fare. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/05/2011
Release date: 02/01/2012
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