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Review: Austenland by Shannon Hale

Friday, April 17, 2015
Goodreads summary:
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?

Jane is a young woman who has an obsession with the world of Jane Austen, especially with the BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice which stars Colin Firth! Her real life romances have been less than satisfying. Jane's great-aunt unexpectedly leaves for Jane in her will an all-expenses paid trip to Austenland, a place where actors and vacationers roleplay in the the Regency period. Jane spends three weeks in Austenland in empire waist day dresses and night gowns living out a fantasy. Jane hopes that by the end of this experience, she gets her head out of the clouds and abandons the search for her own Mr Darcy in the real world. It's not easy though, as the more time she spends in Austenland, the harder it becomes for her to separate roleplay from reality.

A minor issue I had was the fairytale ending in Austenland. It would have been much cooler if the message of the book was to not let literature/film create a distorted image of love (and this seemed to be the direction the book was headed to in the beginning). Not a huge deal because I did have a smile plastered on my face throughout the whole book. Austenland was a totally fun and delightful read!