ARC Review: AUSTENTATIOUS by Alyssa Goodnight

What happens when an eighteenth century literary darling magically pops up in the weirdest city in Texas? Magic and weird collide in AUSTENTATIOUS, the story of Nicola James, a left-brainer with a Jane Austen obsession and a carefully finessed life plan. A plan that doesn’t include an enchanted journal or an interfering fairy godmother, who just might be the spirit of Jane Austen herself.

When Nicola discovers her journal entries mysteriously whittled down to a cheeky bit of commentary on her life, she’s freaked first, skeptical second, and finally downright curious. She can’t help but keep writing, dueling really, with a two-dimensional fairy godmother she doesn’t totally believe in. Soon, the witty little notes start coming true, screwing with her plans, her head, and her life, and nudging her towards an impossible—and impossibly seductive—romance with a man who’s inarguably wrong for her. Nicola’s torn, trapped between a life that makes sense and a man who doesn’t, with “Fairy Jane” wedged in the middle, relentlessly rooting for another “Mr. Darcy”.


In September, I wrote (here) about my challenges in attempting to post a widget promoting the countdown to the release of AUSTENTATIOIUS by Alyssa Goodnight.  Anyone who posted the widget into the side bar of their blog would be entered to win an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of the book.  With a little help and some dogged determination, I eventually succeeded in capturing the widget .  To my delight, it resulted in me being one of the first winners of an ARC.

Thank you, Alyssa!  I am tickled to have the opportuntity to provide the following review (the first I’ve ever written) of AUSTENTATIOUS.


Nicola James is a serious-minded gal with a clear Life Plan and an affinity for all things Jane Austen.  Her plan, which includes a fast track path to management and a sensible romance, seems to be going smoothly until she has a strange encounter with a vintage journal she purchased from an antique shop in Austin (the self-proclaimed weirdest city in Texas).  Finding her first journal entry mysteriously altered to offer advice on her love life; Nic begins to experience conflict between her own sense and sensibility.

Do enchanted journals and fairy godmothers exist?  This is the premise Alyssa Goodnight asks readers of AUSTENTATIOUS to accept.  At first, I had a little difficulty making the leap.  Having been steeped in reading historical fiction for awhile, this contemporary romance with a magical twist was a genre shift for me.  I suppose I felt a bit like Nic, initially:  “. . . out of my depth . . . on the thrilling cusp of weirdness . . . .”  But the more I read, the more I found myself caught up in the magic wittily weaved by Goodnight.  In no time, like Nic, I was “. . . siding with Fairy Jane . . . letting go of both personal pride and ‘magical journal’ prejudice, taking a chance on the unknown.”

With encouragment from Fairy Jane and a few friends, Nic finds herself on an exciting ride (figuratively and literally), making decisions that don’t fall in line with her Life Plan.  These decisions land her in the middle of a seemingly impossible romance with a Scottish rocker heartthrob who has pursued her in earnest.  Will Nic end up with the kind of happy ending only Jane Austen herself could craft?  You can find out for yourself when AUSTENTATIOUS is released in February 2012!

Alyssa Goodnight is the author of a Historical Romance entitled, UNLADYLIKE PURSUITS. You can find her on Facebook and at her website.

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