I can admit it: I’m a huge Jane Austen fangirl.
Because of that, I was so pleased to learn that The Jane Austen Society of North America-Greater Chicago Region included Just the Sexiest Man Alive in their Winter 2009 newsletter. Here’s what they had to say:
“Chicago author Julie James’ first novel was reviewed in the Chicago Sun-Times. In Just the Sexiest Man Alive a female employment lawyer crosses paths with a big-time movie star. “Their relationship turns unto a tug-of war of will-they-or-won’t-they get together. . . Witty banter and amazing chemistry. . .bring this delightful story to life.” James’ next novel Practice Makes Perfect is due for a spring release. Austen is her favorite author, and “she admits her first two books have a few Pride and Prejudice themes.”
I wasn’t familiar with the JASNA-GRC prior to seeing the newsletter, but I’m tickled pink just to be mentioned by an organization whose “readers  enjoy Jane Austen’s fiction.” Pride and Prejudice is at the top of my list of favorite books– if not my actual favorite– and is the one book I re-read every year. And of course I own both the six-hour BBC mini-series (pause for a dreamy sigh for Colin Firth) and the 2005 film version that strangely seems to find its way into my DVD player every time my husband goes out of town…
As I mentioned in the interview with the Sun-Times, in many ways Austen’s novels inspire my own writing. Just the Sexiest Man Alive was written as a modern, romantic comedy homage to P&P: the story of a smart, witty heroine who vows to resist the affection of an arrogant, sought-after man who, in turn, learns to become a better person in order to win her over. And in Practice Makes Perfect, I kick the Austen-love up another notch. The book opens with a quote from Pride and Prejudice, and Austen’s novel is mentioned at several points, including a discussion by one of the characters about “The Darcy Complex”– modern-day woman’s fascination with Austen’s unforgettable hero.
Speaking of books influenced by Jane Austen… I recently read Shannon Hale’s Austenland, a novel I enjoyed quite a bit, and I just picked up Sharon Lathan’s Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, (along with Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect, which was recommended to me by a couple people via this blog).
So if you know of a great Austen-like read, or just a great read in general (you know, that book you tell everyone you know that they simply must read), drop me a line– I’m always looking for new suggestions!