November 4, 2011

Review: Austenland by Shannon Hale

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?

A while ago, a buddy of mine was combing through goodreads looking at books and she came across this one. She sent me the rec just based on the main character in the story's obsession with Colin Firth.
I love having an excuse to put up pics of Mr Firth

As readers may know, I have a little bit of thing for Mr Firth. I read the dedication to this book (Sue put dedication here Sue forgot so T did) and after seeing this, I KNEW I had to read the book. 

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

If for nothing else just to laugh with this witty woman who has no problem making fun of something many people take far too seriously.

This blog post also gives me an excuse to put up very pretty pictures of Mr Firth and not feel too guilty about it.

So, now you know why I read the book. Let's say that for choosing a story based on a dedication, I was pleasantly surprised!

The story is about Jane, a 30-something woman who is confused about relationships with men. Her ideal man is Colin Firth's portrayal of Mr Darcy in the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. As you may know, he is a brooding, shy fella. A gentleman who thinks a great deal of himself, and his position.

The character, Jane, fell in love with him and compares every man to this ideal.

No real man can compare to a fictional character. Not only is Jane comparing men to an unattainable perfect guy in her mind, but she is also very intense when it comes to relationships.

She runs tests on guys from the moment she meets them trying them out for husband material before she even knows much about them

so much more than a wet shirt
I know, I know. She does not sound very likable. I look at her as someone who is VERY confused about how things work in the here and now.

Jane is offered a chance at a vacation to Austenland, where she can live as people did during Jane Austen's time. What she finds is a cheesy reproduction with paid actors and other vacationers who are pretending to be people from the past.

I thought the banter in this was cute, and the story line and discoveries the main character makes about herself are good and believable.

Jane finds herself in a world that is fake. She tries to throw herself into it, but fails in so many ways. There is romance but the author leaves you questioning it until the very end. You wonder is it real, because the men are hired actors just playing a role, or did one of them really fall for her?

The good news is, she finds joy in her real life and comes to accept herself, and well, grows a set! LOL!
I think this a great rainy afternoon, I'm looking for something to read, that is not a huge challenge, but will entertain me kind of a book.

Other news on this is, it is being made into a movie!!! You know how I love those! LOL! There is also a sequel to this book coming out called Midnight in Austenland

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