Author: Shannon Hale
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