Fiction, Romance

Austenland, by Shannon Hale

austenlandJane Hayes is pretty, educated, employed, and not entirely satisfied with her life.  Boyfriends have come and gone for years, but none of them measure up to her ideal, the famous Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Now in her early 30’s with no real prospects for a permanent relationship, Jane immerses herself in the BBC version of the story, much to the dismay of her mother and elderly aunt.

When her aunt passes and Jane’s inheritance is a 3 week trip to England’s “Austenland,” the story really begins.

Think “City Slickers,” the Jane Austen version, where the customers shed all things modern in exchange for corsets, bonnets and a life of leisure.  A small mix of men and women, some paid actors, keep each others company daily.  But what is real and what isn’t?

It’s an entertaining idea and a case of “be careful what you wish for,” as Jane learns modern life lessons while playing dress up and adhering to the strict rules of this land of make-believe.

I cannot say I was riveted, but there is enough intrigue in the form of potential suitors, competition for said suitors, and Jane’s self-realization that made me want to see what happened.  Having read the author’s Princess Academy, I knew that she a strong storyteller.

Austenland does not disappoint and familiarity with Austen’s characters helps.

8 out of 10 stars

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