9780345513656

Jane Bites Back

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780345513656

  • ISBN10:

    0345513657

  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-12-29
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
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Summary

Two hundred years after her death, Jane Austen is still surrounded by the literature she loves-but now it's because she's the owner of Flyleaf Books in a sleepy college town in Upstate New York. Every day she watches her novels fly off the shelves-along with dozens of unauthorized sequels, spin-offs, and adaptations. Jane may be undead, but her books have taken on a life of their own. To make matters worse, the manuscript she finished just before being turned into a vampire has been rejected by publishers-116 times. Jane longs to let the world know who she is, but when a sudden twist of fate thrusts her back into the spotlight, she must hide her real identity-and fend off a dark man from her past while juggling two modern suitors. Will the inimitable Jane Austen be able to keep her cool in this comedy of manners, or will she show everyone what a woman with a sharp wit and an even sharper set of fangs can do?

Author Biography

Michael Thomas Ford is the author of numerous books, including the novels What We Remember, Suicide Notes, Changing Tides, Full Circle, Looking for It, and Last Summer.

Excerpts

Chapter One


My dear Cassandra, I do wish you could have been at the party last night. I was compelled to converse with the most disagreeable woman. But then, as I have said to you before, I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal. —JANE AUSTEN, in a letter to her sister, Cassandra,

 24 December 1798 


IT WAS NOT, OF COURSE, EXACTLY WHAT JANE HAD WRITTEN TO her sister that long- ago Christmas Eve, but the sentiment was the same. Besides, after more than two hundred years, she could hardly be expected to remember every little detail of her voluminous correspondence. Although she supposed she could check for herself—there was a collection of her letters sitting on a shelf not ten feet away. Instead, she remained where she was and imagined how she would describe the disagreeable woman standing before her in a letter to Cassie. 

Melodie Gladstone was slight, her birdlike arms and pale skin giving her the appearance of fragility, as if she might at any moment collapse under the weight of her own head. Her hair, blond as summer wheat, was gathered at the nape of her neck and tied with a pink ribbon. When she spoke her voice was soft, and every head in the room was forced to lean toward her as she read. Elizabeth’s spirits soon rising to playfulness again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her. “How could you begin?” said she. “I can comprehend your going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning; but what could set you off in the first place?” 

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” 

“My beauty you had early withstood, and as for my manners—my behaviour to you was at least always bordering on the uncivil, and I never spoke to you without rather wishing to give you pain than not. Now be sincere; did you admire me for my impertinence?” “For the liveliness of your mind, I did.” 

“You may as well call it impertinence at once. It was very little less. The fact is, that you were sick of civility, of deference, of officious attention. You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking, and looking, and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused, and interested you, because I was so unlike them. Had you not been really amiable, you would have hated me for it; but in spite of the pains you took to disguise yourself, your feelings were always noble and just; and in your heart, you thoroughly despised the persons who so assiduously courted you. There—I have saved you the trouble of accounting for it; and really, all things considered, I begin to think it perfectly reasonable. To be sure, you knew no actual good of me—but nobody thinks of that when they fall in love.” 

Melodie Gladstone closed the book in her hands and gazed intently at her audience. “You see,” she said, “Mr. Darcy fell in love with Elizabeth because she wasn’t afraid to be herself. This was her reward for not accepting the first proposal offered to her.” A murmur of agreement rippled through the crowd. 

“I told you we’d have a packed house.” Lucy had come to stand beside Jane at the back of the store. She was surveying with obvious satisfaction the crowd perched on folding chairs set up between the bookcases. 

“We certainly do,” Jane replied to her young assistant. “I can&rsq

Excerpted from Jane Bites Back: A Novel by Michael Thomas Ford
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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