Austenland by Shannon Hale

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: May 29, 2007
Pages: 208
Source: library
Buy It: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Borders
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
Jane Hayes is secretly obsessed with Pride and Prejudice (and Colin Firth).  When her Great Aunt comes over for lunch, she discovers Jane's secret.  In her will, she conducts a vacation to "Austenland," where Jane will be immersed in the language and mannerisms of the Austen era.  In a last therapeutic effort to rid herself from her obsession and high standards of men, she decides to go.

This is a new favorite of mine.  Not only was Hale's writing amazing and humorous, but the entire concept was completely unheard of and entirely unique.

Who needs amusement parks, when one has Austenland?  Austenland was the ultimate vacation for an Austen fan.  You would be transported back in time, as a guest, to the 1800s where there were women in corsets and men in breeches.  During your stay, you are promised a ball and maybe even a fling.  That's certainly what Jane got during her stay.  But she couldn't help but wonder if the actors were really acting or true.  If there is such a place as Austenland, please tell me. 

The characters were lovely.  I really thought this was just going to be a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, but I was happy when it turned out to be so much more.  Mr. Nobley was my favorite and reminded me very much like Mr. Darcy (which was, probably, Hale's intention). 

The plot was fantastic and every scene was perfectly written.  I, also, like the cover.  It is really gorgeous and the symmetry of it brings you to the middle of the cover- to calculate what Jane Hayes' (one can only assume that is who is on the cover) mood is.  She looks a bit unsure, from the slouch of her shoulders.  It makes me want to know why.  That is most likely why I read this book, because of its cover.

The ending was very cute and reminded me of Austen's masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice, and how she ended it with the wedding.

It was a very fast read and I enjoyed it immensely.

First Sentence:
"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."
Austenland by Shannon Hale, p. 1

Cover: 5
Characters: 5
Plot: 5
Writing Style: 5
Ending: 5
Overall: 5

You Might Also Like


  1. This was one of the funnest, frothiest books I've read this year (along with the Shopoholic series). Despite how far-fetched Jane's Adventures in Austenland might seem to the realist, I loved the premise, plot, and fairytale ending.

    PicCell Wireless