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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
Jane and the Damned: A Novel - Janet Mullany From the title, and the cute black-and-pink cameo cover, one might assume that this is yet another Austen-rip-off. However, from the very first chapter, it's clear that Mullany knows her Austen and the period in which she wrote. From her muslin-choices to her religion, Jane Austen is written in a way that fits perfectly with what we know of her life. But her Britain is not precisely like ours. Vampires exist, and humanity not only knows about them, they even accept them at the fringe of Society (as they too rich, connected and beautiful to be outcast, but too bloody and sexual to be proper). Austen becomes one of the Damned after a chance flirtation, and her adventures begin.

The Jane in the first few chapters is almost startlingly recognizable--but all too soon her opinions and reactions transform into those of a modern paranormal romance heroine. I was particularly disappointed by two things:
1)Her romance doesn't feel authentic or earned in the least. As so often happens, two characters meet, dislike each other, banter, and are then abruptly in love. I could buy affection, attraction, a crush--but not all-consuming love. Luke gives up his lover, and Jane her virtue, so quickly that it strained credulity.
2)The characterizations of historical figures like Brummel and Prinny don't ring true. Prince George was selfish and lazy, but he wasn't stupid--and in this book, he is energetic, more interested in Jane's affairs than his own, and as dumb as a puppy. I dunno why Mullany, who has clearly done her research elsewhere, failed in this regard. I just know that it threw me out of the story.

The beginning of this book is surprisingly good, but Mullany's reliance on paranormal romance tropes drags it down. If this had been more about Jane, and less about her vampire luvah, I'd have enjoyed it a good deal more.