Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Austenland by Shannon Hale
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? 

-Published May 29th 2007 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Food to Eat While Reading:  Modern Day Root Beer Cookies
Modern Day Root Beer Cookies
from the 2012 Book Blogger's Cookbook
I'm in awe of how Hale can make me love Mr. Nobley from the beginning, even though Jane doesn't figure it out until almost the very end. Another character love interest kept getting in the way but I kept wanting her to be with Mr. Nobley. How does the author accomplish this?  With a lot of expertise and the right words.

I had a hard time picturing the other characters in my mind. Perhaps it was the oddity of placing the characgters in a modern time period and then having them act the part of the 19th century England. 

The story was fun and Jane's voice is spunky and modern as she longs for simpler times. 

I love the quote, "Figure out what is good for you.  No use leaning on someone else's story all of your life" (p. 8).

It is interesting to note that "erstwhile" (which is also Jane's last name) means formally or previously.  This illustrates the fact that Jane finds herself on her trip to Austenland and is able to put her past away throughout the story. 

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