I will read almost anything related to Jane Austen but this was not particularly illuminating. The author attempts to develop a unified theory of why Jane Austen remains wildly popular but never reaches a firm conclusion. She approaches this question as a journalist, visiting Chawton and other Austen-relevant sites, attending the JASNA annual meeting, purchasing a made-to-order Regency gown, and interviewing Austen fans, but everything was disorganized and incoherent. Interviews include a woman well-known for her regency gowns, several women who self-published Austen fan fiction, scholars who frown upon the downmarket turn poor Jane has taken, and a few people who have developed some interesting theories: Mr. Darcy is autistic, Jane Fairfax is pregnant by Mr. Knightley's brother, Jane Austen's mother had borderline personality disorder. Meanwhile, Colin Firth and his wet shirt are mentioned at least once per chapter.
Alas, I knew this was never going to be for me when the author dares suggest that Henry Tilney would be the Austen hero most likely to have S&M toys. HENRY TILNEY! I need a fainting couch just thinking about such blasphemy.