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Reviewed by Deborah Stone for Readers' Favorite
Jane Austen in Blue Jeans by Emma Caufield is a love story that we are not quite sure is going to get off the ground. MacKenzie Grant is a confident, enthusiastic, and likeable young woman until it comes to men. In the arena of love and romance, her experience is restricted to her novels by Jane Austen, and her quest to find her own Mr. Darcy may keep her expectations unrealistic. Her lack of self confidence with men has kept her unkissed and in the friend zone at the age of twenty-three. Now, Tyler, a temporary ranch hand that her father hired, could change everything. Tyler has the looks, the build, and the confidence that any woman would want, even Mack, as Tyler has nicknamed her. Could he ever want her? She doubts it. Mack's distorted self image makes it hard for her to believe that any man might want her, especially someone like Tyler. Is there hope for romance or will Mack remain in the friend zone yet again?
Emma Caufield gives us well developed and sympathetic characters that are flawed and real. Emma demonstrates how a distorted self image can torment and control someone over a lifetime. The perception doesn't have to be real, which it usually is not, to be damaging and life altering. Although Tyler and other friends try to convince MacKenzie that her self image is not accurate, she has a difficult time believing them. What she sees and reality are not always the same thing. Emma Caufield's message that outer beauty is far less important than the inner beauty and one's character is a truth that certainly needs reinforcement in today's society.