by Alyssa Goodnight
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Steamy, funky, and thoroughly modern, Austin, Texas isn’t much like the gardened country estates of Jane Austen’s work. But there might be a few similarities in its inhabitants… Cate Kendall is no stranger to daydreams of brooding men and fancy parties—after all, she teaches one of her beloved Jane Austen novels in her English classes every year. But as for romance or adventure in her own life, the highlight of most weeks is Scrabble with her cute coworker, Ethan, and he draws the line at witty banter. But Cate is ready for a change. When she finds a mysterious journal that seems to have a link to the soul of the great Jane Austen herself, she knows it’s her chance. And she grabs on with both hands… Before she knows it, Cate has invented an alter ego with an attitude, attended some seriously chic soirees, and gotten tangled up with a delicious mystery man. And she’s uncovered enough unexpected secrets about Ethan that her Scrabble partner has taken to brooding looks and unfathomable silences. It’s a positively Austenite predicament, and Cate is sure she’ll land in hot water and heartbreak—but maybe not with Jane herself to guide her…
First I should confess that I love Jane Austen and I actually read this on the eve of Pride and Prejudices two hundred year anniversary. It just amazes me that it’s been around and loved by so many for so long. Alyssa Goodnight’s Austensibly Ordinary was an absolutely delightful modern day romance with an Austen twist that had me giggling aloud and falling in love with the characters.
The tale takes place in Austin, Texas where we meet the delightful, funny English school teacher Cate Kendall. She teaches about her beloved author Jane Austen and is very much a fangirl. Like all of us she dreams of meeting her Mr. Darcy. Her life is anything but adventurous and in fact the highlight of her week is playing scrabble with the deliciously handsome Ethan; her best friend and a fellow teacher. They share witty banter and tease about friends with benefits but it never really goes any farther until Cate finds a mysterious journal and decides to create an alter ego in search of the adventure she seeks. The tale that unfolds is hilarious, romantic and heartwarming.
I adored Cate and found her attempts with her alter ego hilarious. She adores Austen and daydreams about the type of romances the characters in her book experiences. I loved watching her discover things, get into mischief and trying to uncover clues. Ethan is smexy, can speak French and keeps a lot of secrets which makes him oh-so-mysterious. The banter between them had me squealing with delight and I love the path the author chose for them. Cate’s Mom was an absolute hoot and I so enjoyed this crazy woman. Cate’s friend the ghost-hunter made me giggle as did Cate’s wild and crazy sister. All of the characters had depth, were well rounded and I enjoyed them all.
Goodnight weaved a delightful tale with just a touch of paranormal magic that I adored. The journal and its impact on this tale, its secrets and messages had me flipping the pages at a dizzying pace. All of the references to Austen and her characters thrilled me, and made me realize all over again why I am a fangirl. The romance was complicated, sweet and felt very genuine. There was no insta-love; there was a little competition but no triangle. *thank you* As soon as I finished I looked for more books by Goodnight about the journal and was delighted to find; Austentatious the first book regarding the journey also set in Austen. I so hope she writes more. Since I had no idea this was not a standalone you will have no difficulty reading them out of order.
I recommend Austensibly Ordinary to fans of delightful romances wrapped with a little mystery and lovable characters. If you are an Austen fan like me, then this is truly a must read.
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