Source- Review copy
Publisher- Hachette/ Hodder
Publication date- 1st April 2012
Synopsis- A sparkling first novel in which a Jane Austen devotee decides to find out if she can, indeed, marry for money
Katherine Shaw is happy with her life. She has supportive friends, a glamorous magazine career, and a love of all things Jane Austen. So what if her boyfriend ran off with all her money? So what if she’s about to turn forty? She’ll move on. But when she loses her job, when her beloved grandmother falls ill and her mother’s gambling debts force a sale on the family home, Kate finds herself facing a crisis that would test even the most stalwart of Austen heroines. Friends rally round, connecting her to freelance gigs, and presenting her with a birthday gift– title to land in Scotland–that’s about to come in very handy. Turns out that Kate’s first freelance assignment is inspired by Jane Austen herself: is it possible, in these modern times, to marry for money? It’s all hypothetical, of course, until Kate considers the venture a way to solve her family’s financial woes. What begins as an article turns into an opportunity as Kate–now Lady Kate–pursues and is pursued, until at last she is forced to choose between Mr. Rich and Mr. Right.
Review- It’s Bridget Jones meets a modern day Pride and Prejudice, The Jane Austen Marriage Manual is probably one of the most enjoyable ‘chic lit’ books I’ve read in a long time.
Desperate to make ends meet and grieving the loss of her beloved grandmother, journalist Kate Shaw accepts a freelance job to write an article about the realities of snagging a rich husband in today’s struggling economic climate. Initially, Kate is reluctant to take on the article- she’s always been a Jane Austen fan but she prides herself on her independence and aversion to marriage and babies. But when she becomes jobless, penniless and almost homeless she decides it’s her only chance to make some cash to help her family. But Kate takes it one step further and makes it her mission to find a rich husband, to choose money over love so that she can live the rest of her life in comfort and security.
Kate travels from New York to London to St Moritz and transforms herself from Kate Shaw to Lady Katherine Shaw and infiltrates high class society where she is bound to meet a rich, single man. But having just hit the age of 40, Kate realises getting a rich husband may be tougher than it seems, especially when she is competing with women half her age!
Kate sets her sights on Scott Madewell, a wealthy man 20 years her senior who is also attractive and charming. Kate doesn’t let his 20 something girlfriend get in her way. But in her fool proof plan to snag a husband, she overlooks the brooding, shy Griff Saunderson who happens to socialise with the same circles. After a turbulent beginning to their friendship which involved Kate offending him about his poor fashion sense while drunk, they struggle to meet eye to eye and are both too proud to put it all aside and start afresh. With Kate gallivanting across the globe determined to become Scott’s wife, she seems to miss the opportunities for love and security that may be just under her nose.
Kate is a likeable character; she’s smart, witty and persistent. There are times she does annoy me because she does lose her head a bit when it comes to Scott, but it is a lesson well-learned and I was happy with how things worked out in the end. I think the author also took the time to allow the reader to get to know Kate, her background and the circumstances which lead her to take the article and so the conflicts she face are well explained and realistic.
What I loved the most about this book were the parallels between it and Pride and Prejudice. I had fun spotting the similarities between Kate’s predicaments and that of Austen’s heroines, particularly the parallels between Elizabeth and Mr Darcy and Kate and Griff. As an Austen fan, this is what really drew me to the story and I could connect with Kate on this level also. Fun, witty chic lit with a modern-day Austen spin!