Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Review: The Family Fortune by Laurie Horowitz

I apologize for the lack of interesting and inspiring things on my blog recently. It's just that Sunshine is getting more and more difficult to get through, and I'm determined to finish it before I allow myself to move on to other books, since I've been reading it for almost 2 weeks now, and that's an eternity in reading time. I should be done soon, I hope!

Meanwhile, stay tuned for Friday, when I announce the winners of my first ever contest giveaway (there is still time to enter!) and introduce our very first Friday Featured Blogger! You'll want to read all about her; she's totally cool, despite what she thinks about her answers to my questions. :)

The Family Fortune by Laurie Horowitz

Tags: adult, Austen retelling

Laurie Horowitz’s brilliant debut novel began as an exercise, as Horowitz, a Jane Austen enthusiast, thought she needed more practice writing the dialogue of mean people. The result is a witty social commentary on the old rich, interwoven with a love story that will make readers sigh.

Technically, THE FAMILY FORTUNE is a retelling of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION. However, it’s interesting to see how Horowitz places the story in modern times. Practical Jane Fortune is 38 years old and perpetually single. She lives in the Fortunes’ old family home with her father, Teddy, and older sister Miranda, neither of whom know the meaning of the word “budget.” Jane spends most of her time either reading books or working for her family’s philanthropic organization, which publishes the literary magazine the Euphemia Review and, every year, grants a promising new writer a place to stay to write his or her novel.

When their family is forced to move due to their financial crisis, Jane stays with her sister Winnie’s family for a while. Unfortunately—or luckily, whatever you call it—this means she crosses paths again with Max Wellman, the first recipient of the Fortune Foundation’s literary grant. Max was her first love, but their relationship was stopped by Jane’s disapproving family, who didn’t want her to be with a struggling artiste. Fifteen years later, Max is successful writer with a womanizing reputation, and Jane is still the same as ever. Go figure.

Circumstances seem to make it impossible for Max to fall in love with the still-besotted Jane again. Meanwhile, Jane struggles to make an identity for herself, separate from the one her ridiculous family gives her. Maybe it’s only after she learns to love herself that Jane can be open to making her own decisions about her life, and her love.

THE FAMILY FORTUNE is a wonderfully told story of the absurdities of high society and the growth of a sensible woman. The romance part of the story left me a bit disappointed (I wanted more--LOTS more--between Jane and Max), but I appreciated this remarkably successful Austenian-type novel.

Similar Authors
Jane Austen
Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club)

Rating: 4/5

2 comments:

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