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Austenland: A Novelby Shannon Hale
Synopses & Reviews
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?
"In 32-year-old singleton Jane Hayes's mind, no man in the world can measure up to Fitzwilliam Darcy — specifically the Fitzwilliam played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Jane is forced to confront her Austen obsession when her wealthy great-aunt Carolyn dies and leaves her an all-expenses-paid vacation to Pembrook Park, a British resort where guests live like the characters in Jane's beloved Austen novels. Jane sees the trip as an opportunity for one last indulgence of her obsession before she puts it 'all behind her — Austen, men, fantasies, period,' but the lines between reality and fiction become pleasantly blurred as Jane acclimates to the world of Spencer jackets and stringent etiquette rules, and finds herself torn between the Darcyesque Mr. Nobley and a forbidden tryst with Pembrook Park's gardener. Though the narrative is endlessly charming, Jane is convincing neither as a sarcastic single girl nor as a romantic idealist, and the supporting cast is underdeveloped. Nods to Austen are abundant in contemporary women's fiction, and an intriguing setup and abundant wit are not enough to make this one stand out. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The novel is clever in its depiction of the many ways in which romance can fall away, and Jane is no fool as she attempts to sort out the real from the make-believe. Readers will be as surprised as she is by some of the twists....Mindless froth that Austen addicts will love." Kirkus Reviews
"An amusing trifle likely to please chick-lit readers and Austen aficionados who enjoy modern twists on the author's classic tales." Library Journal
"A clever confection for fans of contemporary Austen knockoffs." Booklist
For every woman whos read Pride and Prejudice and sighed for Mr. Darcy comes a confection of a book from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale.
Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man—perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Janes fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?
Don't miss Shannon Hale's next book, Midnight in Austenland, a mystery set at Pemberly available in February, 2012.
About the Author
Shannon Hale is the award-winning author of the young adult novels The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Princess Academy, a New York Times bestseller and a Newbery Honor Medalist. She is an avid Austen fan and admirer of men in breeches. She lives with her husband and two small children in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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