Jane Fairfax is the owner of a bookstore in Upstate New York. She is a single woman of forty years who has settled into a nice, comfortable, uneventful life. The only thing that distinguishes this Jane from any other middle-aged woman is that she is really the 19th Century author, Jane Austen, and she is a vampire.
Other than feeding on unsuspecting mortals, for the past century or so, life for Jane has been pretty dull. But that changes when another 19th Century literary figure comes back into her life. Brian George, who was the one who had turned Jane into a vampire, is determined to have her all to himself once again. He couldn’t have arrived at a worse time because Jane has just hit the big time with a New York Times bestseller, Constance. Because she will not oblige him, he wreaks havoc with her professional and personal life. While on a book tour, Jane meets another female 19th Century author (who we know as Violet) who isn’t all that fond of Jane to the point that she wants to utterly destroy her as a writer.
That is the setup for Jane Bites Back. The first half of the book is amusing, but when Brian George shows up, the humor drops way off because he is a sinister presence in Jane’s life. And, frankly, he takes over the story because he is much more interesting than Jane. Actually, everyone in the novel is more interesting than Jane, including her wisecracking bookstore manager, who gets most of the best lines.
The major problem I had with this book is its inconsistency. Brian George is evil through three-quarters of the story, and then for a very lame reason, he starts helping Jane. All through the novel, Jane is unable to be with Walter, her anemic love interest, and although nothing changes on that front, she decides that she can be with Walter. I would have liked this book more if Jane Austen had been a witty, well-developed character, like the real author, but she’s not. 3/5 Stars