‘The Jane Austen Dating Agency’ – Fiona Woodifield
Does true romance really exist?
Sophie Johnson is young, intelligent and attractive. So, when she lands the dream position of Sales Executive at a leading fashion magazine, it appears she has it all. But in reality, she hates her job, is sick of her controlling mother and is a dating disaster.
Then she discovers The Jane Austen Dating Agency, an exclusive club for ladies who want to meet real gentlemen and believes her luck has changed. And when Sophie meets Darcy Drummond, she thinks her dreams have come true. That is until she discovers he is arrogant and hard-headed.
So, when Daniel Becks steps into her life, she thinks she’s found the one. But is he really all he seems?
The Jane Austen Dating Agency is for anyone who has ever dreamed of romance and wondered if it really exists.
Fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk, Jane Green, Meg Cabot and, of course, Jane Austen will love this heart-warming, romantic comedy
Regular readers of my blog know that I am a total fan of Jane Austen. She, (along with Mr Darcy!) is my total heroine. Having the opportunity to read this novel, it was impossible to reject it. With perfect parallels to Pride and Prejudice, Woodifield brings a modern twist to a timeless classic.
I honestly think that if you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice then this novel might be your way in! Woodifield cleverly creates a narrative that runs parallel to Austen and, whilst we don’t have the focus of the Bennet sisters, instead see Sophie and her friends at the hands of the Jane Austen Dating Agency. It’s a neat, romantic idea and Sophie sees it as her opportunity to end her doomed single existence once and for all. With frequent references to Austen and her craft, this was an ideal narrative to remind me of how much I love this writer. On the other hand, if you are new to Austen or have felt daunted by reading her classics, then this novel is a modern way to get immersed into the story!
All being said, I don’t want readers to think that the writer is merely imitating Austen. This is definitely not the case. The plot is entertaining with plenty of humour and romance. It is a brilliant chick-flick read and one you could easily immerse yourself into on the beach. In fact, I could see this as a pick-me-up for any time of the year. Personally, I enjoyed the escapism this book provided and happily imagined the Bath and Regency scenes that Woodifield describes.
I definitely could see a part of me in the protagonist, Sophie. I don’t tend to quote from novels in my review, but this could not be ignored:
“‘…when one has so many better things to do, there isn’t any necessity to read books’…
…I can’t be bothered to explain to this woman my absolute love of books; they are my friends, my refuge.”
Oh, it just summarises my thoughts exactly! Sophie is also a true Austen fan (akin to the author, who admits to being inspired by Austen in the closing Author’s note), and a typical bookworm. She is horrified when management haven’t read Austen and is trying to find her own Mr Darcy, whilst simultaneously avoiding Darcy Drummond. I could see so much of myself in Sophie: the romanticism, desire for a happy ending and satisfaction towards reading a good book. It made her character even more likeable and the plot all the more enjoyable.
This was a lovely romantic story. Admittedly, I was sold just from the title, but am so pleased to say that the novel reached my expectations. I couldn’t help but immerse myself in the narrative because, quite honestly, it left a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart and reminded myself that yes, there is a Mr Darcy out there for all of us.
As a young child, Fiona spent hours reading, curling up with a book was one of her favourite past times. Her current volume would accompany her everywhere, to school, on daytrips, holidays and visits. The idea of providing an imaginary world in which others can escape is a wonderful one and this became Fiona’s dream, to become a published author.
From an early age, Fiona’s parents encouraged her writing – commencing when they gave her a simple red lined exercise book. Soon she had a collection of notebooks, small, large, plain, The Snowman, Brambly Hedge, they all became full of her jottings.
Years later, Fiona studied for a Combined Arts Degree at Durham, then a Masters in English – writing her thesis on Jane Austen and Masculinity. In total contrast she went to work for a top fashion magazine in London, then various marketing posts. Four lovely daughters later, during which time she has graduated from laughing at Mrs Bennet to sympathising with her, she continued to scribble away, only the notebooks are somewhat bigger. Fiona has written for national magazines on diverse subjects from Jane Austen to caravanning! One morning the idea came to her for ‘The Jane Austen Dating Agency’ and this was the first book she just had to write.
Fiona obviously loves writing, especially romantic comedy, meeting with friends and family, dancing, walks by the sea and escaping into a book whilst consuming a worrying amount of chocolate.
With thanks to Bloodhound books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Book Bingo 2020 category completed: Chick lit.