Thursday, October 21, 2010

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Title/Author: Austenland by Shannon Hale
Publisher/Year published: Bloomsbury, 2007
How I got this book: own it
Why I read this book: I love Pride and Prejudice. Enough said really.

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?"

Like many women, Jane dreams of Mr. Darcy (don't we all?) and hasn't been able to find one in real life. I was a bit surprised at how she hides the DVD's as if it's something to be ashamed of. I love watching the movie adaptation with Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadyen and am not afraid of showing it off.

I mean, isn't he just dreamy in all his anguish of having just been refused by the woman he loves (after a clumsy proposal, I'll give you that):

Anyway, enough of my obsession, let's get back to Jane's. She decides to go to Pembrood Park, a trip that her recently deceased aunt left her in her will. There are other guests as well as actors there and at first Jane doesn't feel really into it all, because she feels fake somehow. Especially after meeting and having a fling with one of the gardeners, Martin. Then she decides, what the heck, I'm only here once, let's just roll with it. And she starts to enjoy herself. There's one actor, Mr. Nobley, who seems inspired by Mr. Darcy in his manners. But in stead of immediately falling for him, Jane thinks he's frustrating.
But not everyone is what they seem to be and Jane just might have a chance to find real love after all.

I loved how Jane gets swept up in it all, with the dresses and the fact that ladies are not supposed to be alone with a gentleman. She notices that with a minimum of touching that is allowed, while dancing for example, there can be more tension than she imagined.

At the beginning of each chapter, we see the story of one of Jane's boyfriends or sometimes just one time encounters and they were really funny.
The romance unfolding was really sweet and I loved the ending! There was something that even I had not expected and I'm horribly correct at guessing what's off or the clue to a mystery. I saw on the author's website that she has a book coming out that's called Midnight in Austenland, which I assume will be a sequel and I'm excited to find out what happens in that one. I also saw a picture of her newborn babies there, who are just too cute!

My rating: 4 stars


  1. I've heard conflicting reports about this one, but you made it sound really good. Great review :) I'm officially convinced that I need to read this...especially because I LOVE Mr. Darcy!

  2. I see that you are reading Hunger,,,I picked that one up at the library the other day...I look forward to your review :)

  3. Ooh, I've not seen this one, I must go find it! I liked the P&P with Matthew McFadyen in it (he's gorgeous), but only watch it when my husband isn't home because he teases me about it. We have a good friend who is completely obsessed with Austin, so he's sat through more than his fare share of remakes.