Review: Austenland

Austenland by Shannon Hale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, so this wasn’t a great work of “Literature”, but it was so much fun!

Can’t remember why, exactly, I checked it out, because quite honestly I’m not a fan of most of the Jane Austen-obsessed women of many contemporary chic-lit romances, but I did just read Hale’s [b:Princess Academy|85990|Princess Academy (Princess Academy, #1)|Shannon Hale||3299770] which was fantastic, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that she can pull of a contemporary adult romance as well.

Now, I was concerned right at the beginning when the main character says she loved all of Austen’s novels except [b:Northanger Abbey|50398|Northanger Abbey|Jane Austen||4039699]—but then again, when I think about it, that’s practically a plot point (if you know Austen, and know how these romances tend to work, you may guess what point Hale’s making). As for myself, I can only work up a cackling joy [b:Murder at Mansfield Park|7275444|Murder at Mansfield Park|Lynn Shepherd||8429271]. Must. Have.


Jane (the character) is great fun: warm and friendly, semi-aware of her issues but just not quite able to overcome her obsession with fantasy Darcy/Firth. She even got me laughing aloud several times, and finished it in one night. Even if you don’t much like romances, I think you can read this: just pay attention to all the clever parallels Hale pulls over to Austen’s own work. A great homage.

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