Title : Austenland
Author : Shannon Hale
Genre : Romance
My rating : 3.5/5
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?
I proudly admit that I'm one of Austen's fans because the lady can really write. I also admit, that like Jane in Austenland, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley are my fantasies. Don't we all? So I guess the idea of immersing oneself in a Austenland as a desperate way to self-therapy yourself out of Darcy syndrome sounds really interesting. I just love everything Austen and Austenland proves very interesting and a page turner. Since the romance is also sweet, reading the book is very enjoyable. But I found myself often disturbed by the confusing stream of thoughts pouring out from Jane Hayes. I don't know whether it's because Hale wanted to show the readers the exact state of jumbled thoughts that floated inside Jane's mind or is it because the writing itself is confusing? Most of the time, I don't really understand what exactly Jane is feeling. Well perhaps she's the kind of person who can't really described in intelligible words what her emotions are. But I find it unsatisfactory that I often need to furrowed eyebrows to follow her thoughts. And I personally don't like the way she kept changing her decision about the men, especially toward the ending. If it happened earlier in the novel then it's understandable but so close to the end and still uncertain? Make a choice girl! So that's the reason for my rating. But I'm glad and happy that I got the ending that I want. One thing for certain though, it's unlikely that I'll give this book another go in the future. That being said, I think I'm still quite eager to watch the movie that's coming out sometime this year. And this is certainly not going to be the last Austenesque novels that I'm going to read. I find myself longing to re-read the original Austen novels as well.