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Friday, September 2, 2011


by Shannon Hale, AF, 2007, 196p, rating=3.5

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? (Goodreads)
I loved the idea of Austen -land.  It's like Fantasy Island (TV series) granting your Jane Austen -world fantasy.  And so the protagonist, Jane Hayes, indeed has seemingly entered an episode of Fantasy Island and has been bequeath a three week stay at Pembrook Park, Kent, England ..aka the author's Austenland.

Ooh, I was loving the read.  I was all excited and was making guesses on what's ahead.  I was riveted with Jane's adventure in Regency estate and enjoying the funny tidbits about her ex-boyfriends in between chapters.  My guess was that Jane would end up with Mr. Nobley since he demonstrated the charisma of he's not the guy, so he must be the guy!  Sure enough he was a contender.  But did she end up with him?  The adventure to the answer was pretty interesting.

It was the very very end that ruined this book for me.  It wasn't a terrible ending.  Uplifting to Jane's ego in fact.  I guess I built up an expectation for a wowing regal ending or I'm not sure what, so I was a bit bummed.  Otherwise, it was still a fun read ... just read until page 178 then make your own ending.  :D

This book did inspire me to give Jane Austen books another shot.  I didn't have a good experience the first time I read one of her books, but I wasn't much into reading then so maybe it's time to try her again. 

P.S.  Thank you Heather for the recommmendation!  ~Gotta love Facebook.  :)


  1. I had a really hard time with the ending of this book too! I have pretty much decided that Shannon writes wonderful YA and young reader books but not so wonderful books for Adults. I didn't like The Actor and the Housewife very much.....

  2. Hi Chris, I didn't know she writes YA. I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the info!


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