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The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
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The Austen Escape

by Katherine Reay

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8917199,511 (3.62)19

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I always enjoy a good Austen inspired book and I love this author. I did receive an early edition e book on NetGalley, but I assumed I’d love the book, so I waited to read it until I had a physical copy.

Mary and Isabel have known each other so long that they are basically non-blood related sisters. Their relationship is not without drama.

Mary is in the process of attempting to pull away from Isabel but finds herself pulled in when Isabel asks her to go along to Bath, England for an Austen inspired getaway.

Mary is very hesitant to go. Things are bad at work, her crush may soon be out of the picture, and she’s not sure she can deal with nonstop Isabel drama for two straight weeks.
But Mary’s dad strongly encourages her to go. He cares for Isabel like a daughter and he thinks the trip would be good for them both.

Not long after arriving, things get interesting. While everyone is dressed in vintage clothing and pretending to be characters from Austen’s novels, Isabel starts to think this is her real life.

Mary is forced to take control of the situation and it causes her to make some decisions about her crush, her job and her friendship.

I loved the setting.
I loved the descriptions of the clothing and the house, even the interactions between the “Austen characters”. Also, it was a lot of fun to have the love stories thrown into the mix. What is an Austen story after all, without a great love interest :)
( )
  Mishale1 | Dec 29, 2018 |
This Austen related book was good.
The story of Mary and Isabel is slowly unfolding. (Too slow for me, hence only 3 stars.) Still, the story of their friendship, of the escapism, the side characters kept me reading till the end. A tip of the hat to the author for that, I would have given up earlier if it wasn't for her skill.

This review is based on a NetGalley ARC provided by the publishers. ( )
  JulesGDSide | Nov 29, 2018 |
I've read this book for one of my book clubs, and it was a great discovery. So far, I've read only one Austen (Persuasion), which I very much enjoyed. At the beginning of this book, I was scared that my lack of knowledge about Austen's books would be an hindrance, but at my surprise it was not! I really enjoyed how the author integrated Austen's characters to her story. Overall, it was a great feel-good book. ( )
  JulietteGF | Mar 27, 2018 |
My request for this book was followed by immediate regret, but it was predictable: another story about a woman taking an Austen-themed vacation, with the lagniappe of amnesia in her friend? It's like catnip. I was a bit sorry to be approved for it, but felt like something light and quick at the beginning of the year, so I cracked it open (so to speak).

And lo and behold, it was kind of wonderful. Actually, a couple of kinds of wonderful. I couldn't be more surprised, I don't think. It turned out to be the story of a woman rediscovering her path, finding a way to hit a reset button and go back to things that make her happy.

And of course it's also a love story, and a good one. It's the story of Mary Davies's love for her father (and vice versa), and of a love that seems to have died out, and a love that just doesn't seem to click. That's a major part of it – but just about as important to the story and to Mary is the exploration of her love for her vocation, the profession she has carved out for herself with a lot of hard work, which has drifted from where it used to be and needs to be shunted back to that right path. A love of numbers.

And, naturally, it's all about a love of Austen. Jane is vital to the book – but the book isn't about her. She is like sunlight and water to a neglected garden, causing things to happen.

The Austen Escape has a number of points in common with a book I read a few years ago, Austenland. Both feature a semi-immersive Jane Austen experience, in which guests dress the part from head to toe, put away their cell phones, and participate in Regency-style activities. But the ethics and advisability of Austenland struck me as deeply questionable, and it all left me with a bad taste in my mouth. This book was entirely different. I loved just about every character's arc, and found the whole thing very satisfying.

Life advice from The Austen Escape:
"He said that how people treat you is only 10 percent about you and 90 percent about them, so you need to be careful how you react and how you judge. You never know someone’s story."

"My grandfather used to say that everything in the world could be solved at the cadence of a cast. Think about things, don’t rush them, get a feel for them, live organically. Live life like you cast." He bent his arm again, and with fluid slow motion he shot the line straight across the pond into the slow-moving water near the far bank.

"Music is math, and once you understand that . . . How can anyone not be in awe? It’s the audible expression behind the laws of the universe. It feels like the only thing, apart from God, that lives outside time. Once released, it lives on and it can make you laugh and cry, rip you apart and heal you, all within a few discrete notes strung together. And while it follows rules, expression is limitless."


And this made me laugh out loud:

"How did they do all this?"
"When you went up for your bath, I watched from a window." I yanked at his hand. "Not you. This. I watched this."


The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review. ( )
  Stewartry | Mar 18, 2018 |
Why have I not read any books by this author before?! Note to self: Read more of Katherine Reay’s work because it is amazing! “The Austen Escape” is the first book by Katherine Reay I’ve read and now I’m hooked!

“The Austen Escape” is especially meaningful to me as Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors and there are so many references to Austen and her work throughout the story. For those not familiar with Austen–not to worry; there’s a great character reference section in the front of the book.

Ms. Reay has a certain style of writing that is witty and easy to read. Ms. Reay is a genius in the way she connects present day characters to Austen’s characters. I especially love Mary (our main character) and her complex personality. I love that she is an engineer, yet also a hopeless romantic and an Audrey Hepburn lover (I can relate to the last two characteristics). The relationships are also so well written and complex.

Ms. Reay explores the themes of friendship, family and finding oneself. What a neat concept of going away and living like one is in a Jane Austen novel (sign me up!). I think this quote sums up the experience of the Austen Escape well: “In playing other characters, they find themselves.”

This book is addicting! I took it everywhere with me and got upset when I had to stop reading and do “real life.” I highly recommend “The Austen Escape!”

Content: This is a clean read. A few minor examples of content are: characters drink alcohol and a character struggles with a type of memory loss/disassociation disorder.

Rating: I give this book 5 stars!

Genre: Contemporary; Christian Fiction; Romance

I want to thank the Fiction Guild, Katherine Reay and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255. ( )
  Meganleigh844 | Mar 16, 2018 |
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After years of following her best friend's lead, Mary Davies finds a whimsical trip back to Austen's Regency England paves the way towards a new future.

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