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Book 120: Austenland by Shannon Hale

Book 120: Austenland.
Author: Shannon Hale, 2007.
Genre: Comedy of Manners. Chick-Lit. Romance.
Other Details: ebook. 208 pages.

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?
- synopsis from author's website.

This proved to be a short delightful slice of chick-lit with a Jane Austen theme that proved perfect reading for a summer afternoon. I enjoyed it very much.

Jane's adventures at Austenland are punctuated by amusing short interludes about her various failed relationships to date. While not quite up to the wonderful Bridget Jones' Diary it did contain insights into the difficulties faced by a 30-something singleton with a romantic temperament. Certainly Jane isn't the only woman whose heart has been lost to a fictional love.

Austenland had been a Kindle Daily Deal last year. However, it lingered on my TBR e-list until this week when the film adaptation started to be shown on Sky Movies. As I always prefer to read a novel before watching its adaptation I plunged in. I watched the film today and though there were some minor changes, I felt it was quite a faithful adaptation of the main text. In addition, the actors obviously had great fun filming it. One small aspect of the novel's final scene that struck me as improbable was corrected in the film. I plan on reading the sequel Midnight in Austenland.

Shannon Hale's web page for 'Austenland' - lots of links including excerpt, background on the novel and film adaptation.
Tags: chicklit, romance
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