Book Title:  Austenland

Author: Shannon Hale, 2007

Book dedication, “For Colin Firth — You’re a really great guy, but I’m married, so I think we should just be friends.”

AustenlandI love Jane Austen. For those two people who have been living under a rock and don’t know, Jane Austen wrote contemporary romance novels that are now historical. She was an author long before women authors were popular and her first novel, Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811. Two hundred years later women all over the world still swoon for Mr. Darcy and Captain Wentworth. The books have been made into movies and TV miniseries, they are sometimes modernized (Clueless starring Alicia Silverstone was based on Emma), and there are countless stories based on her characters.

In Austenland, Jane Hayes is a single thirty year old woman who is a little on the obsessed side with Colin Firth a.k.a. Mr. Darcy. Which is totally understandable, of course, who doesn’t obsess over Mr. Darcy (I confess, I own three copies of Pride and Prejudice on DVD, only one of those has Colin Firth the other two are with Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy and I only own one copy of the actual book –I’ve personally purchased at least three but for some reason when I lend this book to my friends it never comes back so I end up having to buy another copy). When a relative bequeaths Jane with a three week stay in England at a resort named Austenland where women go to live out their Regency-era fantasies she decides she has nothing to lose.

Don’t expect too much from this story. It won’t change the world. You probably won’t even read it more than once (so check it out at the library instead of buying it, call me, I’ll put it on hold for you). The author says “what-what” a lot in the book. I’m not sure what a “what-what” is or even what that means but it’s weird, annoying, and something Jane Austen would never say, but I was able to just over look it. Overall, as someone who enjoys Austen’s stories and all their crazy adaptations I liked Shannon Hale’s book.

There’s even a follow up book I’m thinking about reading Midnight in Austenland, about another woman on vacation at the Austenland resort where she knows that everything is for pretend but was that a real dead body she just saw?