Friday, August 16, 2013

Austenland: a review

Author: Shannon Hale
Info: Bloomsbury USA, copyright 2007, 208 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): An amusement park for the hopelessly romantic and a little bit insane.

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 love life: no real man can compare. But 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, Jane struggles to master 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 fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

~Goodreads Description~ 

The Breakdown
Jane Hayes really doesn't want to become a lost cause.  When life is crummy and romances turn sour, Jane turns to the one man who can do no wrong, Mr. Darcy.  Terrified that she'll become a spinster because  no man can measure to her precious Darcy, Jane decides to kick her habit.  When an aunt leaves an all-expenses paid trip to a Regency era "amusement park" in her will for Jane, the Austen-junkie decides to go full immersion as a final goodbye.

The Awesome
I get Jane.  Not the obsession, but the feeling of being a little lost.  She's neurotic, but likeable.  She's a bit dense, but a great conversationalist.  Despite not really knowing what she wants out of life, she keeps hoping, keeps moving forward.

The Not So Awesome
Not the most well-written book I've ever come across, but that doesn't make it not awesome.  While I know it's Jane's story, I would have really liked to have gotten to know some of the supporting characters a little better.  Perhaps this is the fault of seeing the preview for the upcoming movie before reading the book.

But it was fun, and that's all that matters.  Do these places really exist?  Oh, I hope so, and if not, they totally should.  I'll admit it, I'd kind of like to go.  Not for some weird period hookup, but just the fun of living in a different time period for a week or two, taking long, roaming walks in the countryside totally unplugged, playing weird games by firelight have dinner.  There's no way I could stay in character, but trying would be hilarious. 

Have you watched teh trailer yet?  Had me in stitches...and it has J.J. Feild in it, yay!

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