In the alternate universe of Welsh author Jasper Fforde (1985 England), cloning pets is commonplace, time is flexible, literature is sacred, the Crimean War lasted nearly 150 years and a multinational conglomerate called Goliath controls the world. When we last saw Special Operations agent Thursday Next in Fforde's popular debut novel, The Eyre Affair, she had successfully saved (not to mention improved) the classic novel Jane Eyre and managed to end up with the man of her dreams, Landen Park-Laine. But when you're a literary detective with as many enemies as Thursday, tranquility can't last. No sooner has Thursday discovered she's pregnant than the Goliath Corporation eradicates her husband, making her the only person who remembers him. They promise his safe return if she will enter Poe's poem "The Raven" to release the villainous Jack Schitt, whom she imprisoned there at the end of the previous book. To make matters worse, a set of bizarre coincidences leads Thursday to believe that someone related to her old enemy, Acheron Hades, may be out to get her.
Thursday's immediate concern is her husband, but how to jump into a book without the help of her Uncle Mycroft's invention, the Prose Portal? Under the tutelage of a consummate book-jumper, Dickens' Miss Havisham, of course!
If all this sounds confusing, don't worry. Fforde's ability to handle a seemingly infinite number of subplots joined with his unique brand of humor somehow allow this wacky world to make sense. Thursday is a particularly effective and realistic first-person narrator; even the romantic scenes in the book are portrayed in a way that suits her slightly hard-boiled, independent character.
Lost in a Good Book abounds with even more literary references than The Eyre Affair, and developing characters outside of their original authors' plot lines is something Fforde clearly relishes. His Miss Havisham is a former bodyguard and a reckless driver as well as Dickens' acerbic old maid, and the Cheshire Cat, cast here as a librarian, is as adept at nonsensical non sequiturs as he is in Carroll's work.
Classifying this book poses a dilemma. Is it Science Fiction? Literature? Romance? It doesn't matter. Lost in a Good Book is, simply, a good book that will appeal to readers of these and other genres.