WARNING! This review contains SPOILERS. Personally, I don’t think they’ll ruin a Janeite’s enjoyment of the book, but I feel compelled to warn you anyway.
Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure by Emma Campbell Webster
A hilarious way to kick off Austen in August! In this grownup version of a choose your own adventure book, the reader is Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. If you choose to do everything Elizabeth did, you’ll end up married to Mr. Darcy, but if you’re a little more adventurous, all sorts of things can happen!
The story is told in 5 Stages, and includes forays into Austen’s other novels. In Stage 1, I was attacked by gypsies and horribly disfigured, which I found extremely diverting.
Stage 2 was exciting, and involved lots of backtracking. First, I eloped with Mr. Wickham and died in poverty. Then, I slipped on a patch of ice and broke my neck. Finally, I discovered a secret passage at Northanger Abbey, which concealed an insane Fanny Price, who kidnapped me! Eventually, I backtracked enough to move on to Stage 3.
I failed my mission so many times in Stage 3 that I lost track of everything that happened. The ending that stands out was a Shakespearean bloodbath, à la Hamlet.
In Stage 4, I narrowly avoided being murdered by Caroline Bingley (I peaked at the ending after having chosen the other option).
Finally, I reached Stage 5, where Mr. Darcy proposes (the 2nd time). This is where everything fell flat for me. I could choose to marry Mr. Darcy or stay single and become a writer (like Jane Austen!). This irked me. Why couldn’t I have the man I loved and personal fulfillment?
All in all, this is a fun romp for Janeites, full of good humored snark and unexpected twists.