Jane in Love by Rachel Givney tells the story of what might happen if Jane Austen time-travelled from 1803 to present day Bath, then had to make a choice between true love and writing novels.
Despite watching Jane appear out of nowhere, Sofia Wentworth, who was preparing to play the role of Mrs Allen in a film adaptation of Northanger Abbey, believed that she was an actor playing Jane Austen as part of a practical joke similar to a Candid Camera scenario.
Deciding to go along with the joke, Sofia played along with the strange things Jane said and did as she reacted to modern life. For Jane, learning that six of her novels, most of which had not yet been written or conceived of in her own time, had been published and were enormously successful was overwhelming.
Realising that Jane wasn’t going to break character, Sofia took her home to stay with her at her brother Fred’s home.
Jane had already met Fred on the film set and chastised him for his lack of manners towards her when they were asked to dance together for a scene.
The story then followed both Sofia and Jane over the following months.
Sofia had recently separated from her husband who was the director of the Northanger Abbey adaptation and hoped that working together would rekindle their marriage. Sofia was also struggling emotionally with playing an older character rather than being the young, beautiful star of the film.
Although Jane and Fred found each other irritating they fell in love, however as Jane became more established in the present her novels started to disappear. Eventually Jane realised she had to choose between being a little-known writer who would only have small success in her own time and enjoying true love in the present with Fred.
Jane in Love is a story for romantics rather than for die-hard Jane Austen fans and my advice would be to read the book in the spirit of how it has been written, which is for fun.