Friday, January 9, 2009

Book Review: Austenland

A few weeks ago I read Austenland by Shannon Hale. I had been meaning to review it, but I loaned my copy to my mom and that whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing had kicked in. However, now that I have remembered I am making up for it.

Austenland came highly recommended to me by my friend Mary, who is the member of three book clubs. She reads more than anyone else I know and is a gold mine for a book recommendation. (She is also the one who edited my book for me and was incredibly encouraging about it!) Mary had been meaning to find me a copy of Austenland for several months, but one day before that happened I bought it used on e-bay for $1 (not including shipping, of course). And, upon receiving the book via media mail I sat down, read, and learned {once again} how great an opinion Mary has on books.

Austenland is about a 32-year-old single lady (Jane) who is obsessed with the PBS version of Pride & Prejudice. Jane has had a number of poor relationships with men and can't seem to find anyone to live up to Colin Firth's portrayal of Darcy. However, early in the book, Jane is left an all-expenses-paid trip to an exclusive English estate where guests live as though in the Regency era. While there Jane attempts to overcome her obsession with Mr. Darcy. In the process she is woo-ed by both the gardener and a Darcy-esque actor portraying the handsome Mr. Nobly.

I have to admit Austenland was a very fun read. I particularly liked the clash of the modern world with Regency England. And Jane's character comes to some great conclusions about fiction vs. reality that I think many women can relate to. Thanks to Mary for this recommendation!


  1. I keep meaning to read this book! Thanks for the great review! I actually knew/know of a woman who is that obsessed with Mr. Darcy/Colin Firth. What a great idea for a book!

  2. I read this (and reviewed it) right around the time I read Breaking Dawn, and it struck me that Shannon Hale is a far superior writer, but Stephenie Meyer is a better storyteller. The plot of Austenland (esp. how it ended) was just a bit unsatisfying, no matter how well written.

  3. I love Shannon Hale, but out of all of her books so far, this was my least favorite. I was surprised how much I did not like it. I am a huge Jane Austen fan and have read all of her books so many times that my copies have fallen apart and are held together with rubberbands and packing tape. I also love the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth (Hunka! Hunka!), but I did not like Austenland. Goofy, huh?!

  4. I think I could be this Jane. Although it took my mom years to convince me to watch the movie. I loved the book and didn't want it spoiled. BUt this is one of the best film portrayals of a book I've ever seen.


Comments are much appreciated!