Book Review #14: Austenland
Author: Shannon Hale
Days to Read: 10
Synopsis (as taken from Chapters): Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man–perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?
My Thoughts: As soon as I had seen the title and read the synopsis inside the front cover, I was hooked. It seemed completely up my alley, what with my obsession with Jane Austen, Mr. Darcy, the Regency Era and New York. After picking it up from that book sale I went to a month ago, I began reading it just as soon as I finished The Lord of the Rings. The first few chapters drew me in with great speed. I absolutely fell in love with the setting, the costumes, the speech and the men. But after that glorious introduction to Austenland, the story fell flat. I began to grow bored with the characters and the plot. I knew right away who Jane would end up with at the end, so there were no surprises or twists to keep me entertained. I can’t help but feel a little disappointed with Shannon Hale, because this novel could have been so much more than it was. Instead, I ended up not caring at all about the ending or how the characters would turn out. Jane was annoying and I couldn’t help chiding her in my mind because as much as I love Jane Austen’s world, I can’t imagine stepping out of my ordinary life to have fake affairs with gentlemen in suits and falling in love with the era, only to be plucked right out of it after a few weeks time and being thrown back to reality. I enjoyed Shannon Hale’s witty writing, but I still maintain that Austenland could have been much better and more interesting.
My Rating: 5/10
Since this novel lacked all Jane Austen magic for me, do you all have any suggestions for books along this premise or that incorporate Austen’s world with reality? Let me know!
Also, if you want to view this book, click here.