Title: Lies Jane Austen Told Me
Author: Julie Wright
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Year Published: 2017
Number of Pages: 320
Reviewed by Sherry Ann Miller for the Association for Mormon Letters
True to form, Julie Wright has given us a proper romance in her novel, Lies Jane Austen Told Me, a delightful read for anyone who enjoys contemporary romance. Emma’s situation caught my attention from the very beginning and held me almost breathless to the last moment. The story is well-written and its characters are richly defined with all the necessary weaknesses and strengths one would expect from Julie Wright.
The story begins with Emma Pierce, who is contemplating the possibility of, perhaps even hoping for, a proposal of marriage when she is invited to the parental home of Blake Hampton, a man with at least as much wealth as Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice. Reluctant to even dare hope, Emma turns the invitation down, but is later persuaded by coworkers to be spontaneous and go anyway. Her hopes are dashed when she arrives at the Hampton Estate to find Blake has already invited another woman to take Emma’s place, that his parents always leave town that particular weekend and he had now settled on someone other than Emma for this romantic weekend.
Furious, Emma storms out. She is soon gently coerced to accept a ride from Blake’s brother, Lucas, to the train station. En route, she learns Lucas, like Blake, also has a “dark side” because he’s apparently abandoned a little girl named April who is living under dreadful circumstances (Emma assumes April is Lucas’ daughter).
Back at work, Emma hopes to throw herself into the daily grind of Kinetics, a complete fitness company with outlets all over the western USA, but is soon sidelined when she learns that Lucas has been hired by Kinetics as a consultant to assist Emma in purchasing real estate for new outlets in the northeastern states.
Lucas and Emma soon embark on an amazing journey which brings them much closer than Emma expects. During their trip together, Lucas encourages Emma to give his brother, Blake, a second chance, while Emma’s heart begins leaning toward Lucas.
The danger of Emma assuming that April is Lucas’ child becomes readily apparent. My assumption would have been different. She could have been the child of her mother’s ex-boyfriend, and for Emma to automatically assume ill of Lucas, without some exploration into who else’s child April could be, never settled long in Emma’s mind. For a highly motivated person who pursues many different avenues for the good of her company, like Emma is portrayed, her assumption seems illogical to her discerning character.
Also, Emma was, herself, an abandoned child. Her mother left the family when Emma was only five years old, which left a terrible scar in Emma’s psyche. The anguish Emma went through and the emotional malignancy she felt was tremendous. In my opinion, this issue was not satisfactorily resolved by the book’s end. Rather than a slight representation about making peace with the issue, I would have liked to have seen Emma find her mother so the resolution is complete, or at least see more change in Emma’s heart and life as she finds that peace she was so lacking in the first few chapters of the book.
Having addressed the only two issues I had with the novel, I would definitely recommend Lies Jane Austen Told Me to all readers of contemporary romance, and especially to those who love the novels of Jane Austen.