Romance/ chick-lit

Austenland by Shannon Hale

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a Jane Austen fan. I love all of her novels (apart from Sense and Sensibility which I just can’t warm to), so when I fell into a bit of a reading slump last week, this was just the kind of light-hearted story that I needed to lift me out of it.

Austenland tells the story of Jane, who is obsessed with Mr Darcy, but also unlucky in love herself. An elderly relative leaves her an unexpected gift within her will: a 3 week holiday at Pembrook Park. It turns out that this is an immersive Jane Austen experience, complete with costumes, no technology, and a guaranteed ‘romance’ with one of the actors who play a range of eligible bachelors from Regency England. Jane finds it hard to adjust to this strange holiday, especially when she has to deal with the aloof Mr Nobley. She finds herself more comfortable with the gardener, Martin, but she cannot shake the doubt over the reality of every experience at Pembrook Park.

The story was definitely engaging and at it’s best when it didn’t take itself too seriously. A real highlight was the ridiculous Miss Charming, crying “tally-ho” with her enthusiastic fake English accent at the most bizarre of moments. Overall the love story within was fun to read (even if fairly predictable) and I would say that this is an enjoyable book for anyone who has ever (even briefly) wished themselves inside a Jane Austen novel.

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