Sunday, August 02, 2009

Read: Austenland by Shannon Hale

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?
Much as I love Jane Austen, I've never quite bothered with any of these contemporary add-ons/re-imaginings or whatever they're called. However, I ended up with Shannon Hale's Austenland on the strength of her retelling of the classic children's tale The Goose Girl, which I really enjoyed.

Austenland was a fun summer read (i.e. a light breezy read with little to tax one's brain). However, I didn't fancy the way the book ended. I have no intention of spoiling your reading of the book, so I shan't say anymore.

2 comments:

Tym said...

I like your use of "shan't" --- for me it always speaks to the English side of childhood reading (too many hours with Enid Blyton and that ilk).

But "realer" (from the book blurb)?! So clunky and ugly. I hope it wasn't used in the book text itself.

olduvai said...

Oh dear, I didn't even notice the "realer" bit (am guilty of just glancing at the blurb before copying it off Powells)! I don't recall it being used in the book though.

But ah yes Enid Blyton books were a childhood staple.