Sunday, November 8

Review | Austenland by Shannon Hale

"For Colin Firth: You're a really great guy, but I'm married, 
so I think we should just be friends."

My Rating:  

          Austenland by Shannon Hale (Austenland #1) 
                             (Book Depository | Goodreads
Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man - perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real that she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Jane Hayes, the main character, is your typical stereotype of a young New Yorker: independent, pretty, intelligent, with a great sense of humor and a secure job. Underneath it all she keeps a secret: she's hopelessly in love with Mr. Darcy.

Austenland is a fast read - a somehow charming, somewhat predictable yet decent cheesy romance to be read on a lazy afternoon. It was a fun, lighthearted read that made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. I was trying to overcome a reading slump and this book certainly did the trick.

It was easy to relate to Jane's character. Her less-than-great dating history, her coming to terms with a likely future as a spinster, her platonic love for a fictional character,... For me, it was exactly her platonic love that I related to the most. Who hasn't fallen in love with a storybook character before?!

Another interesting character is Miss Charming. What a delightful crazy woman! In a way I believe she was meant to symbolise what Jane would've become had she never conquered her Darcy obsession. 

The story takes place in Austenland - a resort in England that promises a typical and unique Austen-inspired Regency-era experience. A make-believe theme park that allows its guests to live in 1816 England, in a property called Pembroke Park, filled with beautiful dresses, elegant balls and chivalrous men. Maybe it's the way my brain conjured it that made it look so perfect but I kept wishing that place was real!

The ending does, however, leave something to be desired. Jane makes a self-discovery and the reader finally gets the point of the book. It was not my favourite part. It was one of those rare occasion in which I ended up preferring the ending of the movie adaption instead of the book. 

Overall, it is a fuzzy quick read with a satisfying romance.

Read in:  March 8 and 9, 2013

1 comment:

  1. Grey characters add depth to novels for me, and they are the most reflective of what it means to be human.