Thursday, July 30, 2009

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Jane Hayes has an obsession with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice among other Austen works. She is also thoroughly in love with Mr. Darcy. No man has ever measured up to that in the past 13 boyfriends. Her great-aunt Carolyn comes to visit with her mother. Once great-aunt Carolyn dies, Jane inherits a trip to England to a place called Pembrook Park. It is the world of Jane Austen brought to life. Jane is enthralled from the beginning. This could be the one thing that helps her understand her obsession and maybe conquer it once and for all.

Ms. Hale really knows her stuff. Her research shows and I completely felt swept up in the Regency world. Her characters had flaws but it made it even more real. The journey she took them on was interesting with the whole concept of play acting. It was difficult to distinguish at times what was real and what was just acting. I really did like seeing the world brought to life by one character's eyes. It made it more vivid and the challenges were interesting.

Jane sees a gift and takes it. She has to figure out how to just play along. Getting rid of her fantasy is the idea behind it all or at least toning it down. Knowing she'll never truly meet her ideal man, she takes the trip for what it is. A way to glimpse into the world she has always dreamed about. She looks over her past 13 relationships and sees what was wrong with all of them. Dreaming about Mr. Darcy is not a bad thing but it's hindering her real world relationships.

Can she find a way to enjoy her dream but go back to the real world? Jane certainly has her hands full with the way things are playing out in her play acting world. Ms. Hale did an amazing job with this story. It was also very sweet due to being set during the Regency period and the strict rules that they had to follow. I loved every minute of it! I will definitely check out the other works by this author that are geared more towards the Young Adult crowd.

Shannon Hale/ New Author/ 208 pages/Adult Fiction/ Regency World/5 out of 5

It took me longer than I wanted to put this one together. It was a great book though. Now I am reading another new author for me but not sure I'll finish it by the end of the month. We'll see.