Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Austenland by Shannon Hale

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.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book.

20 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Okay, I'm *definitely* getting this one, Lesa. I enjoyed that BBC production (I think of it as the A&E one) and am an Austen fan.

Lesa said...

I think Sara Rosett sold more than one of us on this book, Elizabeth. And, I'm taking it to work to hand to someone else who loved that production. I think you'll like it.

Kay said...

Lesa, I read and reviewed this one back in 2007. I remember liking it very much. It reminded me of those PBS shows like Manor House and 1900 House. With all the Janeites out there, it's good that you have highlighted this one again!

Lesa said...

Thanks to Sara Rosett, Kay. She suggested this one after seeing my comment that we were having a Pride and Prejudice viewing party on Sunday. I had never seen it, although I had read the book when I was about 14 or so. You're right. It does seem like one of those PBS shows, doesn't it? I liked it better, though.

Mary said...

Nice review, Lesa. I read this book a year or so ago and really enjoyed it. I think I need to get hold of the dvd!

Clarissa Draper said...

I loved the film and the book looks wonderful. From the exerts you showed us, the writing and characters seem lovely. Thanks for the review.

CD

Lesa said...

You haven't seen the movie, Mary? From what everyone told me, I thought I was the last woman in the country who hadn't seen it. (grin)

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Clarissa. The book was terrific. I really enjoyed it.

Lover of Books said...

I just read this a couple of months ago and loved it! I found it off of a friend's blog. I am so glad I read it. It's a good one!

Krista

Lesa said...

It is a good one, isn't it? I'm glad Sara Rosett recommended it. I loved it, too. Then, this morning, I went back and reread the ending because I liked it so much.

LeAnn said...

Since you liked Austenland, I highly recommend the 2008 BBC mini-series Lost in Austen.

The heroine in Lost in Austen, a woman living in modern-day London, is just like the woman in Austenland; she's obsessed with Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy. One night when she's settled back with a glass of wine and her copy of Pride and Prejudice, she hears something in her bathroom. Going in there she discovers a woman entering her bathroom through this door that was supposed to have nothing behind it. The woman entering was Lizzie Bennet.

Anyway, to make a long story short, the girl from modern-day London enters Lizzie Bennet's time and stirs up some trouble for the Bennet's and Mr. Darcy. It's fun, entertaining, and a treat for any Pride and Prejudice fan. Check it out!

Lesa said...

Thank you, LeAnn. I'll have to look for it. That sounds fun!

Inside A Book said...

Wasn't it fun? I found it was a great escape. I think I'm ready for an afternoon of tea and crumpets now myself!

Lesa said...

It was fun! It's such a great escape that I ordered a copy. I'll enjoy it again some weekend.

Sara Rosett said...

Glad you enjoyed Austenland, Lesa! I think I'll read it again soon...maybe after watching P&P again. Enjoy that DVD!

Lesa said...

Oh, I will enjoy the DVD. And, I went back the next day and reread the ending of Austenland, Sara, since I liked the ending so much. Then, I picked up a copy of the book, P&P, and reread most of that ending.

bermudaonion said...

I bought this when our Borders Express went out of business and set it aside. You've made me excited about it again!

Lesa said...

You need to pick this one up and read it, Kathy. I hope you enjoy it!

notesfromrumblycottage said...

I heard a rumor a movie is in the works. Don't know if it is true or not but hope so.

Lesa said...

Oh, that would be a fun movie! Thanks for the hint.