Title: Midnight in Austenland
Author: Shannon Hale
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From: Oshkosh Public Library
Plot Basics: Another non-traditional attendee for Austenland arrives. Charlotte Kinder is recently divorced and seeking something different. The kids are off with the ex and his new wife. Charlotte should be carefree and happy. Instead, she isn’t sure where the reality begins or ends. The plot is more mysterious than she expects, including a parlor game that is a little too serious for her tastes. The mystery continues into the night and Charlotte is positive that she has stumbled into a real mystery – or has she?
Banter Points: I was excited to read this second in a series and discover if my potential plots were realized. During a lunchtime chat, Bethany and I discussed whether or not a second book could be different, or if the plot would be more of the same. I came up with several plot lines and dived right into this. Bethany readily admitted that this wasn’t a series for her.
It was different plots. And not what I expected.
That wasn’t a bad thing, just different than I expected. The estate has taken a turn for the worse. One of the houses has been sold. The visiors are less focused on the Austen-like plots and have “normal” conversations on pre-approved topics.
It’s more gothic than Austen, closer to a Northanger Abbey or one of the Bronte Sisters. It full of several plot twists and fun adventures. But I kept getting pulled out, thinking that it should have been a Bronte weekend.
Bummer Points: It didn’t hold to the spirit that was set-up in the first novel. The characters were quite a bit different and the hard times of the business explain some of it yet, I wonder if it isn’t just second novel syndrome. Alternatively, it could have been an effort to have the book appeal to a broader audience too.
Either way, I’m game for a third to see how it develops.
Stacie’s Recommendation: A fun afternoon read.