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Jane Austen in Boston:
a modern retelling of Persuasion
in which the sensible daughter of a flighty
Brahmin family finds love against all odds
Jane Fortune has a problem. Thanks to the profligate habits of her father and older sister, the family's money has evaporated and Jane has to move out of the only home she's ever known: a stately brick town house on Boston's prestigious Beacon Hill. Perhaps what's worse is that Jane, at thirty-eight, has never had the gumption to leave in the first place. She is terminally single and fears that she has been left on the shelf to curdle like cream.
Unlike her father and sister, Jane doesn't spend her days in the pursuit of idle pleasures -- the best wines, cosmetics, plastic surgeries, spas, haircuts. For fifteen years Jane has been running the Fortune Family Foundation through which she started a literary fellowship and, almost to her own surprise, a journal of great renown. Though too modest to acknowledge it, she's also helped spark the careers of many a budding writer. That includes Max Wellman, the first winner of the fellowship and also Jane's first -- and only -- love.
The loss of the family home launches Jane into a peripatetic lifestyle that begins with a visit to her spoiled younger sister, Winnie, in the suburbs. It is then that Max Wellman comes back into Jane's circle. Both Max and Jane have changed in the intervening years. While Max has become a bestselling novelist, known as the literary lothario due to the number of conquests reported by the tabloids, it could be said that Jane had misplaced her luster.
But change is afoot. Along the way to bailing out her family and reigniting the flame of true love, Jane discovers enough about herself to shed her spinster persona and become the woman she was always meant to be.
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Laurie Horowitz began her career as a lawyer in suburban Boston before moving to California, where she became an agent at Creative Artists Agency. She now divides her time between Santa Monica, California, and the Bitterroot Valley in Montana.From Publishers Weekly:
Based loosely on Jane Austen's Persuasion, Horowitz's cheeky, uneven debut novel follows Jane Fortune, a Bostonian with a romantic crisis. The 38-year-old founder and editor of a prominent literary journal, Euphemia Review, Jane pines for true love while devouring novels and dealing with the financial woes of her once wealthy family, which force them out of their Beacon Hill home. When an enigmatic writer named Jack Reilly submits a brilliant story to a Euphemia contest, Jane is intrigued; when she learns that he lives off the grid, she becomes infatuated and tries to track him down. But Jane still carries a torch for her first love, Max Wellman, a successful novelist who got his start in Euphemia. Jane's narrative voice is natural and lively, but the plot unfolds in fits, careening between Jane's romantic adventures and the Fortune family foibles. Horowitz captures her "lifestyles of the rich and literary" milieu, but otherwise her Austen tribute is transparent and unnecessary; for all the highbrow window dressing, this is pure chick lit, featuring characters with the depth of a teacup and a "girl loses boy, girl finds boy" plot. Horowitz continues the tradition ably, promising plenty as soon as she ditches the lit-crit posturing and embraces her inner Lauren Weisberger. (May)
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