Sunday, October 5, 2008


From the book:
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. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths to her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed woman, Jane’s 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?
In this addictive, charming, and compassionate story, Shannon Hale brings out the Jane Austen obsessive in all of us.
My two cents worth:
*Spoiler Alert*
HEY... let’s face it! Every woman fantasizes of THE perfect man based on a fictional character or two... (Mine’s Edward Cullen by the way. There! It’s out of the closet...phew). But when you’re so obsessed with a fictional character that no man alive can even compare, sisters we have a problem.

Jane is obsessed with Mr Darcy’s character as played by Collin Firth. When an elderly aunt finds out about the secret obsession, she left Jane a three week vacation to Austenland in her will. Pray tell, what is Austenland you may ask? It’s a place for the ‘rich’ to act out their fantasies to live, eat, sleep, talk, dress and fall in love like people from the 1800’s or more like characters from Austen’s literary work. (I say the ‘rich’ because they probably are the only ones eccentric enough to actually waste money on such a resort if it actually existed)

The book is a no brainer; go for weird holiday, meet annoying but mysterious man, hate annoying but mysterious man, annoying but mysterious man turns out to be sensitive and romantic then fall in love with sensitive and romantic man. A sure win recipe for any romance novel, well for me at least (What can I say? I’m just easy to please). Austenland is a fun read. Some parts of the book were extremely hilarious especially Jane’s efforts to play the part of a lady from the 1800’s. I found the dialogue to be simple and humorous (laughed my eyeballs out when she ‘Ya!’ like a ninja).

I love Mr Nobly because I’m just a sucker for mysterious, quiet, brooding, manly characters. The first time he was introduced in the book, I knew straight off that Mr Nobly would be the guy Jane will fall for, so no big mystery there. However, the events that unfold between the two are actually quite sweet to follow through reading till the end.

I do unfortunately find the ending a bit disappointing. Mr Nobly turned out to be one of the actors hired by Austenland to ensure consistency of the 1800’s ambiance as well as ensuring the lady vacationers feel special as and when necessary. I was hoping that Hale would actually keep the romantic fantasy alive till the end and reveal Mr Nobly as a modern day aristocrat. Maybe Hale wanted to bring reality back to the ending to balance out the fantasy of Austenland, who cares... it was a fun read with nothing to ponder on at the end.

Austenland is definitely a chick lit romance novel. Don’t expect any deep messages or unpredictable plots because there isn’t any. 'Fluffy' was how one of my friends had described it. If you feel like enjoying a silly girly fluffy romance novel, then this is one book that you can consider.

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