Book Banter: Austenland (Take Two!)

Title: Austenlandaustenland
Author: Shannon Hale
Genre: Fiction
Length: 208
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From: Personal Collection
Plot Basics: Jane Haley is obsessed with the story Pride and Prejudice.  It may have something to do with the BBC version and Colin Firth’s puffy white shirt (Google it, I dare you.)  It may have something to do with the string of horrible boyfriends she’s had.  What ever the cause of her obsession, her great-aunt bequeaths her a trip to Austenland – a full time experience in Jane Austen’s world.  Jane Haley discovers what her life is missing.

Banter Points: I adore Jane Austen and her novels, so while this title caught my eye, I hesitated to read it.  I’ve gone down the road of spin-offs and almost-but-not-quite-retellings before.  It wasn’t until this book was given to me that I seriously considered reading it.  And then it took me several months and a recommendation from Bethany.

I don’t know why I waited.  The immersion-therapy that Jane experiences is more than therapy – it’s a chance to spend three weeks as a character in one of Austen’s novels.  Jane is constantly drawing parallels between the experience and the novels, yet misses her very own Mr. Darcy when he shows up.  I loved seeing this aspect grow, knowing that the author was manipulating my feelings, yet falling for it anyway.

The experience sounds both wonderful and horrifying.  I mean, the idea of having to wait around all the time for the gentlemen to show up would be terrible, but the ability to read and do needlework would be great – two of my favorite past times.  For all of my love of Austen, I doubt that I would be able to speak the language and fit in appropriately.

I was excited to see also that this is a series.  I’m excited about the second one.  The possibilities for a follow-up are pretty cool.  Jane Haley wasn’t a typical attendee.  She won’t be returning for a repeat experience.  She is the modern equivalent of the “poor relation” that is the typical attendee.

Bummer Points:  I can’t think of any other than I’d really like to see the movie version.  And that just sounds sacrilegious!

Stacie’s Recommendation:  If you are a fan of Austen, this is a great title.

Bonus:  Bethany read it too; see her Book Banter: Austenland

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