Jane Bites Back Michael Thomas Ford. Ballantine, $14 paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-345-51365-6
Ford's (Last Summer) fang-tastic satire of the Jane Austen craze catches up with “Elizabeth Jane Fairfax,” the undead 233-year-old author and owner of an upstate New York book store. She's disgusted by the Pride and Prejudice knockoffs that fly out of her store (poor Jane hasn't seen a royalty check in almost 200 years), and her last manuscript's been rejected by 116 publishers. Things start to look up when she finally gets a deal for the book, but two problems arise as she's promoting Constance: Lord Byron, who turned Jane, wants her back; and Violet Grey, a vitriolic Brontë blogger, accuses Jane of stealing Charlotte Brontë's last unsold manuscript. Ford's Jane is a very fun and funny heroine to root for as she endures the indignities of publishing and bookselling, fends off danger and (perhaps) finds love. Her hilarious smack downs with Violet hint of more madness to come in this first of a series. (Jan.)
I'm really pleased with this (even if they did give away a major plot surprise). Fingers crossed that the rest are as enthusiastic.
In the meantime, work has begun on the official Jane Bites Back website. That should be going live in early December. Until then, look here for updates and news.