Jane and the Damned by Janet Mullany

Janet Mullany‘s Jane and the Damned follows Jane Austen’s transformation into Nosferatu shortly after the rejection of her first novel in 1797.  Jane is as brash and outspoken as Elizabeth Bennet, and her sister Cassandra is as beautiful and demure as Jane Bennet in Mullany’s novel.  Attending country assemblies bores Jane, but she takes out her frustration by writing, but disappointments lead her to take chances she might not have otherwise.

While her sister and their friend are off playing cards and dancing, Jane is charmed by Mrs. Smith who comes to her aid and later her brother, Mr. Smith.  Jane knows about their affliction and confidently challenges them with her wit, but her openness about her negative experiences leads to her transformation.

“The vampire who called himself Mr. Smith lowered the unconscious woman onto a chair.  The room was still empty, and the dance, with its imperfect harmonies and clumsy thudding of feet, continued.  They would not find her for a good fifteen minutes, a tiny grain of dust in time.

He licked the last of the blood from her arm and breathed the wound closed.”  (page 21)

Once transformed will Jane take to her new nature or seek out the curing waters of Bath?  And will she learn that her new strengths could come in handy to fight the French as they invade England?

Mullany mixes the supernatural with Regency England deftly to create a clash of cultural norms that don’t necessarily apply to the new Jane.  She uses modern language to depict the struggles of Jane in her new role and to illustrate that even class differences influence the society of vampires.  However, certain aspects of the period are lost in that the Austens are not often referred to in more formal manners, instead addressed by their first names, and Jane seems to shun propriety a lot more than some readers may expect.  Additionally, in some ways the novel takes itself too seriously, and readers may be expecting a more tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.  Overall, Jane and the Damned provides a dash of adventure with the society readers have come to know through Jane Austen’s very own novels, and it provides an absorbing tale in which readers could lose themselves.

About the Author:

Janet Mullany was reared in England on a diet of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and now lives near Washington, D.C. She has worked as an archaeologist, waitress, draftsperson, radio announcer, performing arts administrator, proofreader, and bookseller.

Connect with Janet via Twitter, on Facebook, and through her Website.

Check out the other stops on the TLC Book Tour.

This is my 51st book for the 2010 New Authors Reading Challenge.

This is my 9th book for the Jane Austen Challenge 2010.

This is my 5th book for the Everything Austen II Challenge.