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Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale
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Austenland: A Novel (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Shannon Hale

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2,0072113,343 (3.42)178
Member:BookMystique
Title:Austenland: A Novel
Authors:Shannon Hale
Info:Bloomsbury USA (2008), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Romance, Your library (inactive)
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

Austenland by Shannon Hale (2007)

  1. 20
    Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (writemeg)
    writemeg: Another modern woman's look at life in Jane Austen's era -- with entertaining and surprising results.
  2. 20
    Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs by Paula Marantz Cohen (elbakerone)
  3. 31
    Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding (elbakerone)
  4. 00
    Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter (Alliebadger)
    Alliebadger: Definitely check this out if you liked the other. Both chick lit, both very fast, light, and amusing reads for any Austen fan.
  5. 00
    Both Sides of Time and Out of Time by Caroline B. Cooney (rosylibrarian)
  6. 01
    Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure by Emma Campbell Webster (nicole_a_davis)
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» See also 178 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
Jane Hayes is so stuck on the image of Fitzwilliam Darcy that she cannot have a relationship with a “real” man. Her great aunt Caroline recognizes this, though Jane seems oblivious, and gives her a unique bequest in her will – an all-expenses-paid three-week vacation at Pembrook Park (i.e. Austenland). There Jane will live the regency period romantic fantasy that she’s held dear since she first read Pride and Prejudice at age sixteen.

I read Hale’s The Princess Academy and enjoyed it, so was expecting a decent “chick lit beach read.” This book, however, didn’t do it for me. The writing was hackneyed – for example: “The silence quivered.” Also, the lead character was just too poorly drawn. I can forgive the other cardboard characters she finds at the estate, because they are all actors playing a role (and quite poorly in some cases – e.g. Sir Templeton) and are supposed to be obvious. But Jane, herself, seems so clueless, so out of it, so one-track, that I just couldn’t stand her and really didn’t care whether she ever got her act together. Also starting the chapters with a short description of each of her past boyfriends – from age 4, no less - was just useless!

Katherine Kelgren’s reading on the CD is pretty good, considering the material she has to work with. Although her accent gets confused with Miss Charming, I think the character was written that way (she’s a Southern woman who is trying to affect a British accent and doing quite poorly at it). At least she moves right along and doesn’t drag it out. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jun 14, 2016 |
First note: Does help to have read Pride and Prejudice, maybe Emma, and maybe Jane Eyre, first. ?Those were the sources of the allusions I 'got' because those are the novels I've read. ?áAt the very least, view a trailer for the BBC movie of P&P that shows you Colin Firth in costume.

Second note: I never found those stories particularly romantic, and I was not moved by the video clip I saw of Firth in a wet shirt. ?áI've never had the slightest desire to be a lady in a manor, flirting under a parasol or whatever. ?á(I read this because I'm a big fan of Hale.)

And yet, I was enjoying this light story of a young woman whose views on men and romance have been skewed by Austen (and Bronte), until the end, when it turned out she didn't really learn her lesson, but instead got a predictably romantic and implausible HEA... which signals to me that any young woman who reads this in hopes of coming to grips with her own Mr. Darcy fixation will be disappointed, if not thoroughly discouraged, re' her own un-fairytale-like reality.

I do wish we'd gotten to know Aunt Carolyn better.
I am going to consider the sequel.


( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
While I did enjoy Austenland, it lacked depth and intensity, and though Jane was strong, she also came off as superficial. ( )
  LaPhenix | Apr 14, 2016 |
This started out with a bang, but quickly fell to romance category writing. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Jane Hayes has a pretty good life – except that she’s had a string of terrible relationships and she’s holding out for her fantasy man, Mr. Darcy. When a distant relative leaves Jane a vacation to Austenland in her will, Jane has a chance to live out her fantasy and hopefully get all that Darcy craving out of her system and face the real world. Or perhaps she’ll find her own Darcy after all?

I’ll admit, I saw the movie first, unaware there was a book. The movie was adorable (I love Keri Russell) and it turns out that it was pretty faithful to the book – which makes sense because it looks like Hale helped produce and write the screenplay.

I just wanted something fun and fluffy and Austenland delivered. Jane brushes up on her Regency era knowledge and sets out, excited to put this Darcy obsession behind her and also “swear off men for good.” Throughout the book she’s got a good sense of humor and she had a realistic mix of emotions regarding her experience in Austenland. Naturally she struggles with the swearing off men bit, and she drifts between finding the Regency experience fun and freeing, and totally ridiculous. I think that might be how I’d feel if I were to visit, so I was easily able to connect with her character.

At just shy of 200 pages, there’s not a lot to say about the book without giving away plot points. It’s a quick, entertaining read and I wish it were actually a little longer. Fans of the movie will likely enjoy the book and if you haven’t seen the movie but often wondered what it would be like to put yourself in an Austen novel, you’ll likely enjoy this too. ( )
  MillieHennessy | Apr 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shannon Haleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
King, AmyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lind, MonicaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ratchford, PattiCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stemen, SaraDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For Colin Firth

You're a really great guy, but I'm married,

so I think we should just be friends.
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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a thirty-something woman in possession of a satisfying career and fabulous hairdo must be in want of very little, and Jane Hayes, pretty enough and clever enough, was certainly thought to have little to distress her.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
From the dust jacket: "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 life. No real man can compare.
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, stripped of her modern appliances, Jane throws herself into mastering 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 vanish. Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?"
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Because her obsession with Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life, Jane Hayes is delighted when she gets the chance to take a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, where she hopes to meet a perfect Regency-era gentleman of her own. By the author of Princess Academy.… (more)

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