A literary path to love
Jane Austen's Guide to Dating, by Lauren Henderson, offers an Englishwoman in America's perspective on love. When Henderson moved to the States several years ago, her new friends gave her advice about how to play the dating game here advice like, "Don't call men back for at least three days! Five is ideal!" About to lose someone she was genuinely interested in, she abandoned the advice being given to her and turned to the wisdom on dating and relationships found in the novels of English author Jane Austen. Henderson came up with 10 rules inspired by the romances of Austen's characters and applied Rule No. 1 (very satisfactorily) to her own situation: "If you like someone, make it clear that you do." She writes: "Austen repeatedly emphasizes the opinion that a woman who likes a man should make her preference for him clear without, naturally, going overboard." This guideline came from Catherine Morland's successful pursuit of Henry Tilney in Northanger Abby, and the rest of the 10 common-sense rules cite characters and events from Austen's other novels that back them up. It's interesting to see how 19th-century writing can inform 21st-century relationships. Part of the fun of this book is taking the quizzes, "Which Jane Austen Character Are You?" and "Which Jane Austen Character is the Man You Like?" There are book summaries for the Austen Uninitiated or to refresh your memory, and character descriptions so you can read about the character you are most like and the one you would likely like most. Linda Stankard writes from Nanuet, New York.