January 26, 2008

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale

Austenland is not the type of book I usually read, but because I like all of Shannon Hale's other books so much, I decided to give it a try. Austenland is an adult romance/historical fiction type of book. The language of the book is more Jane Austen style and many of the characters and situations in the book mirror one of Austen's stories. Because the book is set in the modern world and not in Jane Austen's time, a kiss isn't as inappropriate as the story gets. The characters like to make out and the book alludes to affairs and other inappropriate conduct. The book isn't descriptive and nothing goes into detail, but it is there. I wasn't completely comfortable with the book, but romance novels aren't really my thing. Shannon Hale is a great writer and I can see why people would like this book. So in conclusion, if you love Jane Austen, romance novels, and the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, you'll probably like this book. If you only like two or less of those three things (like I do), this might not be the book for you.

Jane is 36, not married, and obsessed with the Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy ideal man. Because of her past relationships, Jane decides to give up men forever and be happy in her current situation. But then Jane's great aunt Caroline dies, leaving Jane an all expense paid trip to Austenland. Austenland is a vacation retreat in England where guests can submerge themselves in the life's, times and customs of Jane Austen's England. The employees of Austenland are all actors designed to make their guests fall in love. So when Jane falls in love with the estate's gardener and not one of the period actors, they have to hide their relationship or risk being thrown out of the manor. Jane is also swept away by the handsome, reserved, Mr. Nobley who more closely resembles her Mr. Darcy ideal man. Jane must decide which relationship is real and which is an act, and if either is worth pursuing.

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