Jane and the Damned

Written by Janet Mullany
Review by Suzanne J. Sprague

At age 21, Jane Austen suspects that a local party will not alleviate the disappointment of her rejected manuscript, but her family insists that she attend. In Georgian England, vampires are accepted as a novelty, although they are feared as evil by some. Jane succumbs to a flirtatious vampire and becomes one herself. The condition is reversible, but when the French invade, she feels obliged to use her new strength and viciousness to help reclaim the city. The charming vampire Mr. Venning, who becomes her bearleader, is also incentive to stay undead.

Mullany’s contribution to the growing canon of historical-figure-turned-supernatural-being pairs two popular topics: Jane Austen and vampires. Her vampires, although debaucherous and deadly, coexist with humans and can rid themselves of the vampiric condition, if desired, by drinking the waters at Bath. Jane must decide if she wants to stay with her new family of sensuous beings or return to her old family and regain her writing ability, which has been extinguished by her vampirism.

This amusing indulgence will be enjoyed by Jane Austen fans who like to see Ms. Austen in fantasy situations. Alternate history fans will find interest in France’s successful invasion of England.