It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is human nature for our subconscious to wish for an escape when the going get's tough and Courtney Stone's subconscious didn't just "wish" for an escape. It conjured it. The hows and whys of the situation is still remains at loss for me even after I finished the book.
Courtney Stone's life is in the gutter and at the end of the day she releases grief and takes refuge in all of Jane Austen's work. Somehow between the world of waking and dreaming, Courtney get's teleported 200 years back in time. She didn't land in the 1800's century as herself but as Jane Mansfield, a beautiful, slim, refined, and unmarried woman in her thirties. She doesn't know who Jane is except for the reflection she sees in the mirror and only gets glimpses and fragments of Jane's memory to help her blend in.
Courtney/Jane was first convinced that all she was experiencing was a dream caused by her obsessive readings of everything Jane Austen. But as days, weeks and months passed on, she just had to accept and take her Jane Austen training and put it to good use to please Mrs. Mansfield and shoo the Lords and Dukes, who are great big horn-dogs.
In this century, the author explains to us that there's more to the world Jane Austen has written. And that Austen only sugar coated the real happenings within a distinguished family, town balls, and overall, men of that time. Yes, mothers only think about their daughters marrying rich. Yes, they go to balls and dance way too much. Yes, there are rich handsome gentlemen who court and flirt. But Austen and many other authors of that age didn't tell us about the obsessive and urgency of the mothers, or that a lot of harassments occur during balls and most of these rich handsome gentlemen have nasty attitudes and only have one thing in mind. Courtney realizes this as she starts getting accustomed to the simple routine of an accomplished woman and starts traveling with her suitors sister to Bath and London.
I enjoyed coming to terms with the reality of how the 1800's is really like and how suffocating it is to be seen with a male underclassmen unchaperoned. And at the end of the book, I came with the conclusion that I didn't really know if Courtney's life in the 21st century was real or where the real Jane Mansfield is. It was a good end but an end that still made you ask what really happened to Jane and Courtney.