Select one of the keywords
Jane Bites Back    by Michael Thomas Ford order for
Jane Bites Back
by Michael Thomas Ford
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2009 (2009)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a different take on the urban vampire fantasy. In his engaging novel, Jane Bites Back, Michael Thomas Ford postulates that Jane Austen was turned into a rather benign fanged form (she has no problems with daylight and enjoys wine and chocolate) by a dark lover and continued an undead existence to modern times, though missing out on centuries of royalties of course.

Ford pokes gentle fun at the publishing industry as well as both Austen- and vampire-mania. His Jane (who adopted the surname Fairfax) has owned Flyleaf Books in small town Brakeston, upstate New York for the last nine years. She runs it with the help of young Lucy, who reminds Jane of her beloved sister Cassie. Jane still writes, but her last (and sole effort since she died) novel has had 116 rejections over two hundred years. And Jane has a romantic interest. At least Walter Fletcher (whose business is house restoration) is very interested in Jane - she has reservations about risking the relationship by revealing her dark secret.

That's where the novel starts but Ford has great fun shaking up Jane's routine. First, her novel is finally accepted by a New York editor (the handsome Kelly considers it Austenesque). It is quickly released to universal acclaim, forcing Jane (after an essential makeover from Lucy) to participate in a daytime talk show and a romance writers' conference. Then the seductive and ruthless vampire who turned her shows up in Jane's life again. Posing as author Brian George, he won't take no for an answer, threatening Lucy and Walter if she won't renew their relationship. Finally, an old and vengeful rival turns out to be just as undead as Jane is, and intent on stealing her story.

What does Jane do? The title says it all (and the bitten usually deserve it), but the entertainment is in the details, including an accusation of plagiarism, a murder (that isn't quite), and a grand finale in Flyleaf Books with a 'firestorm of young adult novels, pop-up books, and how-to guides'. Austen fans (fanged or not) and bibliophiles alike will revel in Jane Bites Back and look forward to more when Jane Goes Batty.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Fantasy books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews