Author Sara Rosett suggested the perfect book to follow up on a Pride and Prejudice marathon. Sara Hale's Austenland gives one member of the Mr. Darcy/Collin Firth fan club the chance of a lifetime.
At thirty-two, Jane Hayes tried to hide her passion for the Pride and Prejudice movie, the BBC double DVD version with Colin Firth. But, when her Aunt Carolyn unearths her hidden copy of the movie, she also digs for Jane's confession. Jane confesses her passion for the story. "Besides being witty and funny and maybe the best novel ever written, it's also the most perfect romance in all of literature and nothing in life can ever measure up, so I spend my life living in its shadow."
But, Aunt Carolyn was pretty shrewd. "Seriously, a thirty-something woman shouldn't be daydreaming about a fictional character in a two-hundred-year-old world to the point where it interfered with her very real and much more important life and relationships. Of course she shouldn't." So, Carolyn gave Jane a first-class planet ticket to England, and a three weeks vacation in Pembrook Park. It would be a complete immersion in the Regency period. And, Jane could decide if she still wanted to look for Mr. Darcy.
And, was Jane's vacation in what she termed Austenland quite what she expected? It took time for her to immerse herself when she found other women hungering for the same love, and actors playing parts they'd played before. And, maybe, in Jane Austen's world, Jane Hayes would find something that she hadn't ever thought about finding, herself.
Shannon Hale has done a masterful job capturing the emotions that cling to Jane Austen's world, and, particularly, that BBC production of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. She understands the attraction, the fanaticism, and the willingness to get lost and escape, and "This Colin Firth thing." Jane Hayes is funny, witty, and a perfect heroine. Shannon Hale's Austenland is a wonderful sequel to the movie.
(Oh, and Sara? I bought the DVD.)
Shannon Hale's website is www.squeetus.com
Austenland by Shannon Hale. Bloomsbury USA, ©2007, ISBN 9781596912854 (hardcover), 208p.
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