Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Austenland by Shannon Hale (2007, 197 pgs.)

This seems like the perfect book for a relaxing day at the beach (that is if your trips to the beach are the relaxing sort, which hasn't been the case for me for almost 15 years.) Or maybe the book you take on vacation when you want something lighthearted and fun. Or, if you are miserably confined to your bed for the day with a sore back, and you need something to cheer you up a bit. I have never had back trouble until this past weekend, and I was so glad to have Austenland available to take my mind off my misery.

It begins with a dedication in which Hale's target audience is identified:

For Colin Firth*
You're a really great guy, but I'm married, so I think we should just be friends.

Pride and Prejudice-obsessed Jane Hayes has failed to find a boyfriend that lives up to the standard that Mr. Darcy has set. So when she is given an all-expense paid trip to Austenland, an English resort where Austen's world comes to life, she decides the trip will help her get all of her fantasies out of her system before finally giving up on men.
As Jane gradually gets the hang of playing the part of a Regency lady, the difference between what is real and what is not blurs as she tries to make sense of what she really wants.
The book is quick and witty, but not as good as the two others by her that I've read--Goose Girl and Princess Academy. But since they are completely different genres, it's not really a fair comparison. As far as Austenland goes, you get that cozy chick flick feeling from a book in not much more time than it takes to watch a movie.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

*Colin never looks quite as good in subsequent movies as he does in Pride and Prejudice--believe me, I've done my research!

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