Austenland by Shannon Hale

719-oke7rolI’ve got a confession: I’m a massive romantic comedy movie fan. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail. I’ve seen basically all of the mainstream ones, including the movie adaptation for Austenland. I’m ashamed to say that I watched the movie before reading the book (which to be fair I didn’t know existed). Austenland (the movie) was one of my favorites in the seemingly never ending stream of Pride & Prejudice adaptations, so reading the book was a no brainer.

This take on Jane Austen’s classic is a sort of self-aware-but-not-really version.
The lead character goes to an Austen-era reenactment camp where she is quickly disillusioned by the camps financial caste system. Realizing she has paid a boatload of money to be treated like dirt by the founder of the estate, she decides to make the best of it. Long story short, she ends up falling for the Mr Darcy of the story. So it’s sort of aware, but it also falls into the same old story.

I really, really liked Jane. She’s relate-able, she was a fun narrator, and she strayed from the Mary Sue path. It was amazing that in such a short book we were able to see her grow so immensely as a person. We watch her go from a Jane Austen fanatic (or a Jane Austen obsessive if we’re being honest) to a woman who is ready to stop using classic books as a way to shield herself from the real world. While her early obsessive antics are slightly cringe-worthy, they were not over the top to the point of giving the reader secondhand embarrassment.

The first thing you’ll realize when you pick up a copy of this book is just how short it is. It’s definitely a quick read and would be ideal for someone trying to get out of a reading slump. It’s a fun, fluffy book whose movie adaptation was surprisingly accurate. Would I recommend it for a different take on the timeless story of Pride and Prejudice? Yes. Also, now I really want to find a regency era reenactment camp.

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20 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness! I saw this film adaptation years ago and absolutely loved it! (I love all things Jane Austen!) I didn’t realize this was a book. Bookmarking to read when I need a light and fluffy Austen romp.

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