From Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, there is a definite trend towards incorporating historical characters and classic literary figures with the supernatural set. In fact, Jane Austen’s characters and the author herself seem to have found themselves in the forefront of this emerging genre. Janet Mullany’s Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion is a sequel to Jane and the Damned. I regret that I didn’t read the first book in the series when I was sent this second for review, for I fear it has tainted my perception a bit.
From the beginning of the book, I could tell that the characters were already acquainted with each other, and I wanted to know more about their background. Deep relationships and history were implied, but I had a difficult time bonding with the characters and buying into their bonds with each other, having missed the details that made them so close. I gather that the depth of the characters was established in the first book, and although I found them interesting and entertaining on many levels in Blood Persuasion, I definitely wanted to be “shown” not “told” about the qualities that established their relationships with each other.
The story takes place in 1810, while Jane Austen is consumed with writing what later becomes known as her classic masterpieces. She is content living as a spinster in her small country village with her mother and sister, having turned away from her former life as a formidable blood-sucking vampire. Her tranquility is soon disrupted though, when vampires begin to move out to the country, having fallen out of favor among London society.
Being both a Jane Austen fan and an avid reader of paranormal fiction, I delighted in this combination of the two. Yes, imagining Jane Austen as a vampire is utterly absurd, but that’s what makes it so ironic and funny. Mullany did an admirable job staying true to Austen’s own dry wit and subtle humor in her writing, poking fun at the British ton, the small country society, and the vampires themselves.
Jane clapped a hand to her mouth as pain surged through her canines. Horrified, she fought to regain control. William gave her a concerned look.
“Why, what is the matter, Jane?” Mrs. Austen asked.
“Toothache,” Jane muttered from behind her hand.
My main recommendation would be to start with the first book, Jane and the Damned, before reading Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion.