Book Review: Austenland by Shannon Hale

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Austenland by Shannon Hale

Published May 29th 2007 by Bloomsbury USA (first published January 1st 2007)

197 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Review: I read this book for the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge.  I am a huge Jane Austen fan so I was happy to find this at my local library to read.  I had seen the movie several months ago and really liked it.  I love the idea of going to a place like Pembrook Park and experiencing the culture of Regency England but it if was anything like the Pembrook Park in the book I don’t think it would be possible for it to exist.  I thought Hale’s writing had different facets that I enjoyed – it was funny but also heartfelt when it came down to Jane’s struggles with not knowing what it was she truly wanted.  I think there is a bit of Jane Hayes in all of us who fall “in love” with fictional characters and find yourself comparing the real people in your life to those characters.  It was very easy to compare Jane to Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Nobley to Mr. Darcy.  I really really really disliked Miss Charming’s character though.  She just seemed like a complete fool and had absolutely no idea what she was talking about.  I was really confused why she would even want to be there in the first place.  Overall this book was a fun read.  I liked reading it but I don’t see myself buying it or reading it again.

3/5 Stars

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