I can't even remember when I bought this one. I know I saw it sitting on a shelf in a clearance aisle somewhere and saw it had connections to Jane Austen and that was that.
It's a very cute book but I wasn't completely sold on it.
The main characters of Enthusiasm are Julia and Ashleigh. The first a reserved Jane Austen fan the second a bright and excitable girl whose extensive enthusiasm bounces from one topic to another. They're complements to one another. Ashleigh schemes and Julia goes along with it.
Julia is fairly easy to relate to as the over shadowed quietly enthusiastic friend. She's reserved and always trying to do right by her friends and everyone else. Her quiet crush on Grandison is just quiet and subtle enough to be perfect. I feel like a lot of crushes start off that way, knowing nothing about the person.
As perfect as Julia is, I feel like Ashleigh is just a little bit too over the top. I love that she bounces from thing to thing at such a high but it's a little bit too much at times. A little unbelievable.
This book has a definite Austen-esque style. It covers its plot and the characters but doesn't go too far in depth with anything. Somehow it doesn't work quite as well here. I think the main problem was that in Austen books there is so much else going on. The side characters all have subplots and the subplots are all carried out by the time the book ends. There's a lot going on. Enthusiasm has the basic information down. A believable character relationship without the main lovers being together all that much and such but it doesn't have the layered plot to really pull off the Austen style. I felt like the book couldn't decide if it was a friendship story or a romance.
I will say this books crowning achievement and why I would still recommend it to people (aside from the fact that it is a cute, easy, fast read) is that it is an excellent example of that period writing style used modernly. It has the language, without being too pompous sounding or seemingly it's trying too hard. The scant but meaningful interaction scenes are well done. There is something definitely period dramay about this book. I was incredibly impressed by that. I have never seen it done quite like this and I found it awesome.
With a little more substance to the plot I would have fallen madly in love with this book. As it is Polly Shulman's Enthusiasm gets a rating of: Sort of Epic.
It had so much potential!
Tomorrow's post is another Jane Austen related read Rosie Rushton's The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love.
Until then, ducks!