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Tutta colpa di Mr Darcy

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Che cosa distingue una semplice lettrice di Jane Austen da Jane Hayes? Tutto: nella sua testa parole come "orgoglio", "pregiudizio", "ragione", "sentimento" hanno un significato ben diverso da quello del dizionario, e soprattutto, per lei, non c'è nessun uomo al mondo di cui valga la pena innamorarsi. Perché nessun uomo è e sarà mai Fitzwilliam Darcy - tranne Colin Firth n Che cosa distingue una semplice lettrice di Jane Austen da Jane Hayes? Tutto: nella sua testa parole come "orgoglio", "pregiudizio", "ragione", "sentimento" hanno un significato ben diverso da quello del dizionario, e soprattutto, per lei, non c'è nessun uomo al mondo di cui valga la pena innamorarsi. Perché nessun uomo è e sarà mai Fitzwilliam Darcy - tranne Colin Firth nella migliore interpretazione della sua carriera, si capisce. Così, anche se Jane è una single trentenne che potrebbe godersi la vita a New York, le sue chance in amore sono regolarmente sabotate dalla sua fissazione platonica. Finché un viaggio la porta dove ha sempre sognato di andare: complice l'eredità di una prozia, Jane parte per Pembrook Park, Inghilterra. L'unico posto dove, tra costumi d'epoca, carrozze, balli di gala e rigida etichetta, per una modica cifra anche tu puoi vivere il tuo sogno austeniano. E magari innamorarti. Nella villa fuori dal tempo che la accoglie, piena di stanze e servitù, tra personaggi bizzarri che non si fanno problemi a vivere per qualche giorno nel passato, Jane conoscerà un giardiniere belloccio, ma si scontrerà anche con un gentiluomo che si crede un po' troppo affascinante. E forse vivrà finalmente il sogno più bello. Quello da vivere nella realtà.


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Che cosa distingue una semplice lettrice di Jane Austen da Jane Hayes? Tutto: nella sua testa parole come "orgoglio", "pregiudizio", "ragione", "sentimento" hanno un significato ben diverso da quello del dizionario, e soprattutto, per lei, non c'è nessun uomo al mondo di cui valga la pena innamorarsi. Perché nessun uomo è e sarà mai Fitzwilliam Darcy - tranne Colin Firth n Che cosa distingue una semplice lettrice di Jane Austen da Jane Hayes? Tutto: nella sua testa parole come "orgoglio", "pregiudizio", "ragione", "sentimento" hanno un significato ben diverso da quello del dizionario, e soprattutto, per lei, non c'è nessun uomo al mondo di cui valga la pena innamorarsi. Perché nessun uomo è e sarà mai Fitzwilliam Darcy - tranne Colin Firth nella migliore interpretazione della sua carriera, si capisce. Così, anche se Jane è una single trentenne che potrebbe godersi la vita a New York, le sue chance in amore sono regolarmente sabotate dalla sua fissazione platonica. Finché un viaggio la porta dove ha sempre sognato di andare: complice l'eredità di una prozia, Jane parte per Pembrook Park, Inghilterra. L'unico posto dove, tra costumi d'epoca, carrozze, balli di gala e rigida etichetta, per una modica cifra anche tu puoi vivere il tuo sogno austeniano. E magari innamorarti. Nella villa fuori dal tempo che la accoglie, piena di stanze e servitù, tra personaggi bizzarri che non si fanno problemi a vivere per qualche giorno nel passato, Jane conoscerà un giardiniere belloccio, ma si scontrerà anche con un gentiluomo che si crede un po' troppo affascinante. E forse vivrà finalmente il sogno più bello. Quello da vivere nella realtà.

30 review for Tutta colpa di Mr Darcy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    I am a Pride and Prejudice snob. I only like the BBC version, with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett. While there are parts of the newer, shorter, harried, and nuance free Hollywood version I enjoy, like the supposed-to-be-prettiest-sister Jane, who is actually much prettier than the actress in the BBC version, every time I've watched it (which, I grant, is only twice), I feel angry afterwards. First, Kiera Knightly is NOT Elizabeth Bennett. Elizabeth Bennett does n I am a Pride and Prejudice snob. I only like the BBC version, with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett. While there are parts of the newer, shorter, harried, and nuance free Hollywood version I enjoy, like the supposed-to-be-prettiest-sister Jane, who is actually much prettier than the actress in the BBC version, every time I've watched it (which, I grant, is only twice), I feel angry afterwards. First, Kiera Knightly is NOT Elizabeth Bennett. Elizabeth Bennett does not smile a ridiculous smile showing her bottom teeth all the time. And she is not flat chested. I mean, come on....we're talking about the girl who woos Mr. Darcy. With those low-cut gowns in style, I'm guessing there was a little bit of oomph necessary to catch his eye. That and a pair of "fine eyes". Mostly, though, the entire movie is rushed. The actors spit out their lines in Gilmore Girls fashion, important scenes are entirely cut out, and then two minutes are devoted to watching Kiera Knightly spin on a swing. Frustrating. Anyways, my point is (and I do have one), that there is only one good movie adaptation...and it's six hours long and only strays (and not really even strays, just leaves out a few minor details) slightly from the book. So, when the main character in Austenland, Jane, loved this movie as much as me, I knew I could appreciate her. 32 year-old Jane, single and relationship challenged, is obsessed with Mr. Darcy...the dreamy Colin Firth who walks across his magnificent grounds in a wet shirt after diving into a pond (you know the scene). The Colin Firth...I mean Mr. Darcy, who beams at Elizabeth while she's turning pages for his sister, Georgiana, at the piano (you know this scene too). After her rich great aunt comes to visit her, and subsequently finds her two-disc DVDs hidden behind a houseplant, Jane is surprised when she receives a call following her aunt's death from the probate attorney. Instead of money, her aunt leaves her an all expense paid for trip to an exclusive British resort, where Jane will spend three weeks living the Regency period lifestyle in an attempt to fulfill, and also hopefully expunge, her Darcy obsession. I found the beginning of this book to be annoying. Jane is too nervous and melodramatic and not all that likable. For starters, I have no idea why anyone would be ashamed of owning Pride and Prejudice. Houseplants? Please. I'm thinking of fashioning my set up with a chain and wearing it around my neck. See? I'm a true fan. However, the three weeks she spends at Pembrook Park, a Netherfield/Pemberly-esque manor with servants who can't speak to her, empire wasted gowns, gentleman that are actors (or are they?), turns about the room, walks on the grounds and a ball are simply fantastic. The situations are entertaining, the plot pleasantly twisty and the ending satisfying. Shannon Hale writes a light-hearted fantasy romance that is sure to please even the snobbiest Jane Austen fans. As a warning, do not expect a Jane Austen book. While Hale does a fair job mimicking some of the dialogue, the novel is thoroughly modern and much less subtle. It is a romance...therefore extremely unlikely to be true. Regardless, when I turned the last page, I had a smile on my face and said, out loud, "That was fun!"

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zoë

    The movie is one of my favorites, so I was so excited to learn that it was based on a book! Unfortunately, this is one of the rare cases where I enjoy the movie more than the book. Movie Jane was a raging Austen fangirl and just a tad pitiful, which was totally relatable and made me root for her. Book Jane seemed to have her life more or less together, so it wasn't as satisfying an experience. Still a pleasant read and I totally want to visit Austenland, but I think I would have enjoyed it more The movie is one of my favorites, so I was so excited to learn that it was based on a book! Unfortunately, this is one of the rare cases where I enjoy the movie more than the book. Movie Jane was a raging Austen fangirl and just a tad pitiful, which was totally relatable and made me root for her. Book Jane seemed to have her life more or less together, so it wasn't as satisfying an experience. Still a pleasant read and I totally want to visit Austenland, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read this before watching the movie.

  3. 3 out of 5

    Melinda

    I crept quietly up the dark stairway, entered my room and tried my very best to shut the door silently behind me. It thudded despite my best efforts and I cringed, but Phil didn’t stir in his 3 o’clock-in-the-morning slumber. I sighed, relieved. I felt so entirely sneaky. I felt as if I had cheated and there was a sting of guilt as I looked at the distorted red figures on the alarm clock through the empty glass on the night stand. “Please don’t wake up and look at what I see” I silently begged t I crept quietly up the dark stairway, entered my room and tried my very best to shut the door silently behind me. It thudded despite my best efforts and I cringed, but Phil didn’t stir in his 3 o’clock-in-the-morning slumber. I sighed, relieved. I felt so entirely sneaky. I felt as if I had cheated and there was a sting of guilt as I looked at the distorted red figures on the alarm clock through the empty glass on the night stand. “Please don’t wake up and look at what I see” I silently begged to the shadowy outline that was Phil. He didn’t. I climbed into bed and gave up all caution trying to snag a bit of the blanket so tightly wound around him. He turned over, releasing his tight hold on the blanket, and rested his leg on mine- still asleep. I relaxed and tried to sleep… but after reading for 5 hours on end- my mind was a frenzy of literature and as I closed my eyes, I could see words giving description to my every action. From the satisfying moment I closed the book that I’d begun only hours prior and ascended to the sleepy second floor of our home- my motions were narrated perfectly in my head. I laughed it off, and enjoyed the silliness of my thoughts. It reminded me of how Phil had once told me about a fishing trip with the guys’. They’d spent so many hours cleaning their vast catch that when he went to bed he continued cleaning fish behind his closed lids. That had to be what was happening to me, luckily it was prose and not smelly fish guts stealing my rest! Finally, I did sleep, though it was a heavy, dreamless-sleep. It is rare thing, for me, not to dream. It was as though I had traded, for the night, my own colorful, unpredictable imagination for the author’s. I needed no dreams or contemplations tonight. So, this is my curse. I cannot pick up a good book and put it down, I must read it’s entirety before I can rest. I had gotten the call from the library yesterday afternoon that the book I had requested from a neighboring library had come in. Yes, yes… another Shannon Hale masterpiece, if you must pry! I wasn’t so sure I would like this one. I like Jane Austen, but wouldn’t call myself a fan (yet). I haven’t read any of her books, and while I enjoyed some of the movies based on them, I hesitate to admit I’d felt they were dry and hard to follow at times. So, I used the excuse that I needed to return a few of the books (which, I had only borrowed last Friday), so I could sneak over to the Library on my way to work. I don’t know why I felt the urge to keep this a secret. Phil doesn’t mind in any way, that I love reading. Perhaps it heightened the appeal and experience of reading it? I knew if I worked quickly I could have time to begin the book before heading home, and how wonderful a thing- to read without any interruptions. Maybe that’s just what it was. If I am openly preoccupied with something- it’s a trigger. That is when everyone needs some-thing! So, I read the book from start to finish, unburdened by distraction. And why am I publishing these thoughts to a review? Does anyone actually care? Probably not so much- but I had the urge to type out my own thoughts to cleanse my eyelids so that I might relinquish my own dreams tonight.

  4. 3 out of 5

    Lorraine

    I was so engrossed in this book I read it in an afternoon. If I were still a teenager, this would be the book I'd read over and over. I hate this book. SPOILER ALERT Why? I mean, if it was so engrossing that I couldn't put it down, why do I hate it? Because Jane Hayes, the main character, is me except that she gets to live out my fantasy and gets the happy ending only found in Austen novels. Jane is in her early 30s, in a job she likes but does not love, convinced she must embrace her spinsterhood. I was so engrossed in this book I read it in an afternoon. If I were still a teenager, this would be the book I'd read over and over. I hate this book. SPOILER ALERT Why? I mean, if it was so engrossing that I couldn't put it down, why do I hate it? Because Jane Hayes, the main character, is me except that she gets to live out my fantasy and gets the happy ending only found in Austen novels. Jane is in her early 30s, in a job she likes but does not love, convinced she must embrace her spinsterhood. So far, so good. I relate completely. Her secret vice is Pride and Prejudice (more the BBC movie than the novel) and she is in love with Mr. Darcy. For me, it's more Rhett Butler, but the implication is there. A great-aunt spots this fantasy and bequeaths to Jane a three-week stay at Austenland, a resort in England where people live like characters in an Austen novel. I have always thought I was born in the wrong century; this vacation would be a dream for me. Jane gets to live out her fantasy and deal with her obsession of Mr. Darcy. I get to read about it. Okay, differences: Jane is beautiful; she turns heads. At the beginning each chapter, a synopsis is given of each of Jane's ex-boyfriends. There are 13. Plus her "first love" (at age four) and three other "Guys". If I were the main character, there couldn't be so many chapters; only First Love, Boyfriend #6, Guy Between #6 and 7, #7, #10, and maybe Guy After #12 would work in my story (read the book: you'll get how sad that is). Jane makes out with the gardner, attracts the men at Pembroke...it's all very ideal. Without the same finesse and fine writing of Austen, (this book really qualifies as chicklit, not fine literature) Shannon Hale does echo an Austen-like story. Underlying commentary on the absurdity of relationships and women's fantasy loves are clear. But the end is so inevitable and apparent you hope for a surprise twist. She gets her guy in the end, just like in Pride and Prejudice. So why do I hate it? Jane Hayes goes to Austenland hoping to rid herself of the dream that one day she'll meet her Mr. Darcy and be swept off her feet. I really hoped this book would put to rest the romantic ideal I and many other women harbour. That finally there would be a book where the heroine found happiness without a man. Instead, this book perpetuates the dream. To a 'tee'. And I have to return to the real world.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Allie

    I read this book all the way through only because I love Jane Austen, and because the concept of the book was quirky and irresisistible. It kind of felt like eating an entire bag of cotton candy. I guess I just don't like chick lit, maybe. But the author of this book seems to have written mostly children's books before, and this struck me as a children's book ... but for women. And not even a well-written children's book. The dialogue in spots was read-out-loud bad and the main character was fla I read this book all the way through only because I love Jane Austen, and because the concept of the book was quirky and irresisistible. It kind of felt like eating an entire bag of cotton candy. I guess I just don't like chick lit, maybe. But the author of this book seems to have written mostly children's books before, and this struck me as a children's book ... but for women. And not even a well-written children's book. The dialogue in spots was read-out-loud bad and the main character was flat and just not believable. (At least, she wasn't like any grown woman I've ever met.) Her "transformation" was forced and shallow. I have to admit I did like the ending, though. It was cute and I at least felt a little bit of payoff for finishing the book.

  6. 3 out of 5

    Brandy Painter

    I can't believe I just gave one star to a Shannon Hale book. Never thought that would happen. Review originally posted here. I really like Shannon Hale's books. And I love Jane Austen. It has taken me this long to get around to reading Shannon Hale's Austenland because I had a suspicion I might be disappointed. The book is a light quick read perfect for summer reading. If you are fan of romantic comedy, either in chick lit or chick flick form, then you might enjoy it. If you are a Jane Austen fan. I can't believe I just gave one star to a Shannon Hale book. Never thought that would happen. Review originally posted here. I really like Shannon Hale's books. And I love Jane Austen. It has taken me this long to get around to reading Shannon Hale's Austenland because I had a suspicion I might be disappointed. The book is a light quick read perfect for summer reading. If you are fan of romantic comedy, either in chick lit or chick flick form, then you might enjoy it. If you are a Jane Austen fan....it is going to depend on what type of Jane Austen fan you are. If you are in the camp that loves her books (and more than the books the period movie adaptations of them) because they are Regency romances that are historical chick lit (or flicks) then you might also enjoy this. Neither of these things being true about me, I didn't. In fact I have some rather major issues with it. I almost feel bad about this because I do really really like Shannon Hale's other books. I almost wasn't going to write a review I felt so bad, but I have been stewing over this for a couple of days and just want to get some of it off my chest. I had issues with Jane. The same issues I have with all of the similar characters to her that seem to be cropping up more and more in this type of book or movie. Jane is a single successful woman with a career and life (sort of) in New York City. Yet she is a mess because she is a desperate husband hungry crazy girl. Why do women keep getting portrayed like this? We are meant to believe that these girls are savvy enough to graduate from college, secure a job, keep a job, live within their means in a large metropolis and yet they can't wear high heels without (at some point) falling over on their bottoms? (How many times is that shtick going to be used????) I have big problems with the whole idea that a woman can not be content and completely free of desperation if she doesn't have a boyfriend/husband. Each chapter of this book is introduced with a history of one of Jane's failed relationships. These highlight exactly how crazy desperate she is for this kind of relationship. Of course they have all failed. Men tend to run screaming scared from crazy women. Irony: Jane is exactly the sort of woman Jane Austen was making fun with her books. Because that is what her books are, not romantic frolics in period gowns, but social satires. At first I thought maybe the irony was intentional. And it may have been, but it fell fall short of its mark if it was. There is one point when Jane has an epiphany and realizes that she is not Elizabeth Bennet, but more like Mrs. Bennet. I expected things to turn around maybe, and that she would become more than she was, but the change that occurred wasn't one that had me believing in its longevity. While the Jane that leaves Austenland has more confidence and has convinced herself she was not looking for a Mr. Darcy duplicate, she never convinced me she was cured. In fact, the end makes it abundantly clear that she's not. More confident, less desperate, but given where she started she still has a long way to go. Except she got her storybook ending, so where is the motivation to grow? It was so frustrating. The frustration was probably greater for me because I know Shannon Hale can write strong female characters better than this. The girls in her Books of Bayern: amazing. Same goes for the girls in Princess Academy. Actually, Shannon Hale can just write better than this period. Honestly, if someone gave me this book to read without telling me who wrote it I never would have believed it to be Shannon Hale.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    4+ stars for this Austen-inspired romantic comedy. Austenland has an irresistible premise for me: a vacation getaway in England for ladies who can’t get enough of Mr Darcy or other Jane Austen heroes and want to pretend to live in her world for a few weeks. Jane’s great-aunt becomes aware of her Darcy obsession. A while later, when her great-aunt dies, Jane is stunned to find out that she has willed Jane an overseas trip to Austenland, where hired actors do their best to make wealthy ladies’ Reg 4+ stars for this Austen-inspired romantic comedy. Austenland has an irresistible premise for me: a vacation getaway in England for ladies who can’t get enough of Mr Darcy or other Jane Austen heroes and want to pretend to live in her world for a few weeks. Jane’s great-aunt becomes aware of her Darcy obsession. A while later, when her great-aunt dies, Jane is stunned to find out that she has willed Jane an overseas trip to Austenland, where hired actors do their best to make wealthy ladies’ Regency dreams come true, if only for a short time. Jane isn’t wealthy, at all, but she really wants the Austen Experience. Some people are better at the whole Regency-immersion thing than others. It’s kind of hilarious because everyone in Austenland mostly ignores the rules that don’t appeal. Ladies get to wear makeup along with their corsets and empire-waisted dresses. Cell phones are a big NO, though. Jane wavers between two guys: Mr Nobley, the one who’s clearly meant to be a Darcy type of character, and Martin, a tall, good-looking guy who mostly just takes care of the grounds. What is real and what is fake gets murky for Jane, as she kind of bounces back and forth between Mr Nobley and Martin, trying to figure out what she really wants. Something REAL, she thinks, but is that even possible in Austenland? It’s a light, fun contemporary romance, with enough Austen to it to tickle my fancy. Maybe not for Austen purists, but I got a huge kick out of it. I’ve probably read it three times over the years. I think maybe it’s about time to read it again. P.S. The movie was okay but a lot more slapstick. I liked the book a lot better, personally.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ginger

    I went into Austenland hoping for a fun and lighthearted book. It delivered! 3.5 stars! Like the main character Jane Hayes, I am also a fan of Pride and Predjudice. I read this book by Jane Austen at an early age and have loved historical romance since then. When I saw friends on this site reading Austenland earlier this year, I had to check it out! Jane Hayes is 32, single and has problems staying in relationships. She’s obsessed with Mr. Darcy and has unrealistic expectations for men. Her rich, g I went into Austenland hoping for a fun and lighthearted book. It delivered! 3.5 stars! Like the main character Jane Hayes, I am also a fan of Pride and Predjudice. I read this book by Jane Austen at an early age and have loved historical romance since then. When I saw friends on this site reading Austenland earlier this year, I had to check it out! Jane Hayes is 32, single and has problems staying in relationships. She’s obsessed with Mr. Darcy and has unrealistic expectations for men. Her rich, great aunt finds out about her obsession and pays for an all-inclusive trip to an estate in Great Britain called Pembrook Park. Pembrook Park reenacts the lifestyle back in the 1800s with full dress, manners, balls and servants. Jane cannot break character and must interact with gentleman and other ladies during this time period. Is everyone acting or is anyone real in this Darcy obsessed place?! And that’s where Jane starts having issues. It looks like she loves New York City more then she thought. She’s getting bored with Whist, walking around the gardens and embroidery! The dialogue was good, the romance was fun, and this was a quick book to read. I will definitely read the second book in this series because I enjoyed how Shannon Hale weaved this funny and quirky romance set during the Regency times!

  9. 3 out of 5

    Cait • A Page with a View

    2.5 stars -- mostly for the Jane Austen aspect. Obviously if you're not a huge Austen fan, this book will not be that amazing. It's more fun if you're just as obsessed with Mr. Darcy as the main character (ok maybe not to that extent. She was really intense). Some of the characters were a bit annoying and the premise is kind of silly, but the story still has enough endearing moments to make it worthwhile. The book is a short, fast read. But I'd honestly recommend just watching the movie instead 2.5 stars -- mostly for the Jane Austen aspect. Obviously if you're not a huge Austen fan, this book will not be that amazing. It's more fun if you're just as obsessed with Mr. Darcy as the main character (ok maybe not to that extent. She was really intense). Some of the characters were a bit annoying and the premise is kind of silly, but the story still has enough endearing moments to make it worthwhile. The book is a short, fast read. But I'd honestly recommend just watching the movie instead because the stories are pretty similar aaaand you get this:

  10. 3 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Seriously, I don't even know why I bother to read any P&P sequels, prequels, re-tellings, or books "inspired" by P&P. They all end up being a complete and utter nonsense (with the exception of "Bridget Jones' Diaries"). "Austenland" is no exception, unfortunately. The premise of the book is OK. 33-year old Jane Hayes is single and obsessed with "Pride and Prejudice" Mr. Darcy (just like you are, admit it, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this review). She inherits a 3-week vacation to "A Seriously, I don't even know why I bother to read any P&P sequels, prequels, re-tellings, or books "inspired" by P&P. They all end up being a complete and utter nonsense (with the exception of "Bridget Jones' Diaries"). "Austenland" is no exception, unfortunately. The premise of the book is OK. 33-year old Jane Hayes is single and obsessed with "Pride and Prejudice" Mr. Darcy (just like you are, admit it, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this review). She inherits a 3-week vacation to "Austenland" - an English estate where guests get a taste of Austen-time living (and maybe romance) with the help of local actors. Jane agrees to the journey hoping to make it her farewell to Darcy fantasy and to move on with her life afterward. What follows is a chick-lit story with a vague directionless plot, a luke-warm romance, and a contrived plot "twist." The story never really takes off IMO, the book is void of real humor or passion, the heroine's inner thoughts and tribulations are hard to understand or follow. In the end, you fail to understand even if this Austenland trip is helpful or not: does it help you to cure your Darcy addiction by exposing the dullness of 19th-century living? or does it enhance it by experiencing a Darcy-like romance (which IMO makes the entire place seem like a some kind of expensive role-playing brothel)? I guess I'll never know... Don't get me wrong, the book isn't a complete disaster. There are some entertaining moments, but to be honest, I probably wouldn't have finished it were I not listening to it. Speaking of the audio, I think it is reasonable to expect from a person who narrates a book set in England to be able to do some English accent. The narrator of this book couldn't do English accent to save her life! It was rather sad actually... Reading challenge: #1 - H

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    I picked up this book at about 10:30 last night thinking that I would just read the prologue to get the basic idea and then start it tomorrow. Alas... it was not meant to be. After about a half hour I whispered an apology to Aaron and slipped out of bed to go read in the living room. After reading late into the night and a quick nap (okay 5 1/2 hours) I got up this morning and didn't stop until I finished it. This book is so entertaining. I read a lot and I have often had a book bring me to tear I picked up this book at about 10:30 last night thinking that I would just read the prologue to get the basic idea and then start it tomorrow. Alas... it was not meant to be. After about a half hour I whispered an apology to Aaron and slipped out of bed to go read in the living room. After reading late into the night and a quick nap (okay 5 1/2 hours) I got up this morning and didn't stop until I finished it. This book is so entertaining. I read a lot and I have often had a book bring me to tears... but I honestly can't remember the last time I read a book that had me laughing out loud through the entire thing. The main character is obsessed with Jane Austen's writings and particularly with the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth (If you haven't seen it you can borrow mine and if you don't want to see it then believe me this book is not for you.) The book is stuffed full of Jane Austen's best lines and references to her timeless characters. And yet... they clash with Jane Hayes modern world in such a funny way (example: "Jane announced to the empty room, 'if you're listening, Big Brother, I refuse to be Fanny Price.'') When reading other reviews of this book.... there were not many raving reviews like mine so I have to realize that it is perhaps not the most well written book of all time... but for me, who related to the main character in (almost) every way... it was PERFECT. I have watched the same parts of Pride and Prejudice over and over just like the main character - and even though I am (somewhat) embarrassed by it - (just like the main character)... I don't expect to ever get over my obsession. I'm glad that Jane Hayes doesn't either.... she just has to find her own Mr. Darcy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eviltwinjen

    Jane Hayes is a single thirty-something with a string of no-good boyfriends and an unhealthy obsession with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Didn't someone already write that book, you say? Banish thoughts of Bridget Jones from your mind, because Shannon Hale knows her Austen. A true knowledge and love of the novels that spawned the fantasy lifts Austenland above its chick-lit peers. The fabulous conceit of the novel is that there's a Regency-era mansion in England that hosts an exclusive vaca Jane Hayes is a single thirty-something with a string of no-good boyfriends and an unhealthy obsession with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Didn't someone already write that book, you say? Banish thoughts of Bridget Jones from your mind, because Shannon Hale knows her Austen. A true knowledge and love of the novels that spawned the fantasy lifts Austenland above its chick-lit peers. The fabulous conceit of the novel is that there's a Regency-era mansion in England that hosts an exclusive vacation experience for wealthy customers. Visitors dress in period clothes and live a period life for three weeks, interacting with actors and (they hope) having a little Austen-style romance. A wealthy, eccentric relative sends Jane Hayes to Pembrook Park, hoping it will cure her of her Darcy-lust and enable her to get on with her life. Despite her initial discomfort with the play-acting, Jane Hayes is soon enmeshed in the realities of playing Austen--the stultifying boredom of a well-bred lady's days, the richness of the language, the thrill of flirting when actual physical contact is taboo. Of course, there's a Mr. Darcy-like gentleman there (and a hot gardener), but will Jane recognize her real Mr. Darcy when she sees him? This is chick lit, yes, so there's a bit of treacle and a bit of "I'm a strong, independent woman...ooh, I slipped in my three-inch heels!", but Hale has an excellent command of Austen's dialog and a sharp eye for her heroine's insecurities and her dawning wisdom. Austenland is a lovely little book, totally satisfying, with just enough substance. I especially appreciate the fact that Jane finds not only her inner Elizabeth Bennett but her inner Mrs. Bennett, Lydia, Emma Woodhouse, and even her inner Darcy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    danielle

    This book was horrendous, certainly not worth anyone's time to read it. I loved her children's books, so I was excited to see that she wrote an adult book about Jane Austen (a serious departure from her usual subjects, which turned out to be a serious mistake). This book was basically Bridget Jones, minus any snarkiness, and with a huge dose of sincerity. Horrendous. (I loved Bridget Jones, but it was bearable/lovable BECAUSE of its snarkiness and level of self awareness). Worst of all, it's set This book was horrendous, certainly not worth anyone's time to read it. I loved her children's books, so I was excited to see that she wrote an adult book about Jane Austen (a serious departure from her usual subjects, which turned out to be a serious mistake). This book was basically Bridget Jones, minus any snarkiness, and with a huge dose of sincerity. Horrendous. (I loved Bridget Jones, but it was bearable/lovable BECAUSE of its snarkiness and level of self awareness). Worst of all, it's set in a current day Jane Austen camp, where losers play at being in a Jane Austen novel, complete with actors played to court them. And of course, the protagonist of this novel falls in love with the Mr. Darcy type actor. Just as uncomfortable as it sounds. I was really disappointed in this book. I was hoping for some chick lit with a brain, and I got maybe the worst chick lit I've ever read (and I've read some doozies).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is such a fun book. I love Jane Austen and got a kick out of Hale's creation of "Austenland". Laugh out loud funny at some points. I love the movie and after watching a few times decided to do a reread of the book. Love the movie adaptation, it brought the characters to life. Originally read May of 2009 Reread June of 2016 Content: Mild innuendo and sexual humor

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lola

    The movie was so much fun... so how could the book be so sleep-inducing and the writing atrocious? Shannon Hale's worst work for certain. She's better with stories for children or teens.

  16. 3 out of 5

    Duchess Nicole

    I would never label myself as an Austen snob, or more specifically a Pride and Prejudice snob. I've read the original multiple times and I've read a handful of spinoffs, satires, and continuations, and I tend to love them all. I also pretty much love all the movie/TV adaptations, even though I do have my favorites. It all centers around the brooding, aloof, prideful gamma hero Darcy, of course. And I just love getting little glimpses into other P&P lover's ideas of this much-loved couple. I' I would never label myself as an Austen snob, or more specifically a Pride and Prejudice snob. I've read the original multiple times and I've read a handful of spinoffs, satires, and continuations, and I tend to love them all. I also pretty much love all the movie/TV adaptations, even though I do have my favorites. It all centers around the brooding, aloof, prideful gamma hero Darcy, of course. And I just love getting little glimpses into other P&P lover's ideas of this much-loved couple. I'm generally scornful of those who look down their nose at certain renditions of Austen's arguably most-loved book. I mean, only the original is perfection, right? Anything that centers on a love for Austen gets a thumbs up in my opinion. This ended up being very much a chick-lit book. Very low angst, very little romance, very little detail. It was honestly just a silly, somewhat vapid novel. But it was fun, it was based on a love of all things Austen and Darcy (though Captain Wentworth really gives Darcy a run for his money) and what's not to like about that? Jane's character was basically the same as the book...silly, vapid, uber girly and indecisive, and really not someone I can relate to...except for the fact that we share an obsessive love for fictional men. I plan on watching the movie, so I must have liked it okay.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Houck

    I saw the movie first and loved it and the book was just as fun. The ending of the movie is different than the book but no less fulfilling. If you're a fan of one you'll really like the other.

  18. 5 out of 5

    belle ✨(bookishlybelle)

    To start with: The book is 100% better than the movie! Ever wished you could dive into Pride & Prejudice and live there amongst the Bennets and Darcys and Bingleys? Like, for real? YEAH, ME TOO. Enter: Austenland. This book was hilarious from the get-go, and completely sucked me in. It truly was a "nose-stuck-in-your-book" sort of book; I couldn't stop reading! Jane is such a funny and relatable character and I was rooting for her from the start. She is obsessed with Jane Austen's works and t To start with: The book is 100% better than the movie! Ever wished you could dive into Pride & Prejudice and live there amongst the Bennets and Darcys and Bingleys? Like, for real? YEAH, ME TOO. Enter: Austenland. This book was hilarious from the get-go, and completely sucked me in. It truly was a "nose-stuck-in-your-book" sort of book; I couldn't stop reading! Jane is such a funny and relatable character and I was rooting for her from the start. She is obsessed with Jane Austen's works and the worlds within them, and because of that can never seem to find real-life love. After all, who can compare to Mr. Darcy? (answer: no one can) So when Jane's wealthy relative bequeaths to her a trip to Pembrook Park in England - a sort of theme park for Austen fans where you role play a Regency romance - Jane is skeptical (and embarrassed) but finally decides to go on the hope it might "cure" her of her Austen obsession. So at first she's like: And then she arrives to a world of Regency rules where no phones are allowed, conversation is carefully curated, and everyone seems to be playing a fictional role and she's like: I absolutely loved reading about the crazy, semi-fictional world Jane was thrust into, and Pembrook Park was filled with hilarity, misadventure, and of course, romance. The book even had a few twists and revelations that I wasn't expecting at all! Overall, this is a great, fun book full of witty, sharp characters and an entertaining plot. It's a must read for Austen fans, but also for anyone at all who enjoys an engaging read!

  19. 3 out of 5

    Danielle

    Let's be realistic here: almost every female goes through their Jane Austen obsession phase. This book explores the "what if" of that obsession, and takes it to a whole new, somewhat unhealthy level. Jane is your typical thirty-year-old woman that harbors a secret Darcy/Colin Firth obsession, which slowly begins to take over her life. In an attempt to help Jane discover herself, her deceased Aunt sets aside a vacation for Jane in her will- to Austenland. When we first arrive at Austenland, the r Let's be realistic here: almost every female goes through their Jane Austen obsession phase. This book explores the "what if" of that obsession, and takes it to a whole new, somewhat unhealthy level. Jane is your typical thirty-year-old woman that harbors a secret Darcy/Colin Firth obsession, which slowly begins to take over her life. In an attempt to help Jane discover herself, her deceased Aunt sets aside a vacation for Jane in her will- to Austenland. When we first arrive at Austenland, the reader is swept up along side Jane as she experiences the fantastical regency era in all its glory. Soon though, the book takes a hasty turn down junky romance lane. Along with love triangles and games, comedy relief characters, and a poorly fitted plot, Jane discovers that sometimes living with an obsession can be a dangerous thing, especially when you can't stop comparing fantasy to real life. If you enjoy reading light comedy romances, then Austenland is a suitable choice. If looking for a more substantial read, it would be better to search further. Out of Shannon Hale's other works [Goose Girl, Princess Academy, Etc.] this is a poor example of her writing and what she is capable of. I would strongly encourage anyone and everyone to read her other works, and enjoy!

  20. 3 out of 5

    Kristi

    Jane Hayes is obsessed with Mr. Darcy. More particularly Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the film version of Pride and Prejudice. Can you blame her? Really? But, it might have something to do with why the thirty-three yeah old Jane is still unmarried and single. Her obsession for Mr. Darcy keeps any "real" man from measuring up. Jane’s Aunt Carolyn is aware of her obsession. When Aunt Carolyn passes away she leaves Jane an all expense paid vacation to Pembrook Park, a resort that lets its Jane Hayes is obsessed with Mr. Darcy. More particularly Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the film version of Pride and Prejudice. Can you blame her? Really? But, it might have something to do with why the thirty-three yeah old Jane is still unmarried and single. Her obsession for Mr. Darcy keeps any "real" man from measuring up. Jane’s Aunt Carolyn is aware of her obsession. When Aunt Carolyn passes away she leaves Jane an all expense paid vacation to Pembrook Park, a resort that lets its guests live like the characters of an Austen novel. Jane has decided to use the vacation as the milestone. Once she has had her fun she will put Mr. Darcy behind herself, forever. Being myself, slightly obsessed with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I couldn’t help but be sympathetic for Jane. And I love the idea of Pembrook Park. How much fun would that be! As far as the story I really enjoyed it! It is a bit of a romance, but that made me enjoy it all the more! This was the first novel by Shannon Hale that I have read, and I really value her writing style. I will be reading more from this author, and I must buy a copy of this book, I am sure I will be reading it again!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emer

    Yup that we do.. Can't seem to get enough of Austen and all things Darcy. This simpering piece of banality though? Do yourself a favour. Swipe left. one star

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This was such a mixed bag of a reading experience. Honestly, though, I figured it might be. I've read a couple of Shannon Hale's adult novels before this, and neither of them worked for me. And the Goodreads average rating for this book is not great. But I was still hoping! Especially considering the premise. It wasn't one of those 'meh' reads, either. One second I would be actively hating what was going on, irritated with the main character, the next, something adorable would happen and I would This was such a mixed bag of a reading experience. Honestly, though, I figured it might be. I've read a couple of Shannon Hale's adult novels before this, and neither of them worked for me. And the Goodreads average rating for this book is not great. But I was still hoping! Especially considering the premise. It wasn't one of those 'meh' reads, either. One second I would be actively hating what was going on, irritated with the main character, the next, something adorable would happen and I would be happy again. I have three main complaints: 1) The main character, 2) the wasting of the premise, and 3) the tone. Let's start with the premise, though, so you'll know what I'm talking about. Our main character is Jane, and her eccentric and very wealthy great aunt (or something) has left her one bequest in her will: a three week stay at a secretive (and expensive) place called Austenland. She does this because she has stumbled upon Jane's secret, which is that she has abandoned dating for a relationship with Mr. Darcy, basically. (The aunt found Jane's copy of the Colin Firth P&P stashed in a potted plant.) The idea, supposedly, is that Jane get Austen out of her system, though how going to a place and immersing yourself in Austen for three weeks is meant to do that escapes me. She wants to get her niece out of her fantasy world by pushing her further into it? Anyway, so Jane heads off to England, not even the least bit grateful or excited about it. And when she gets there, she's immediately turned off by the whole endeavor. She dislikes the woman whose job it is to introduce her to the world (and who seems to be the owner?) and she refuses to give up her technology, hiding her cell phone when the woman isn't looking. This irked me right away. If you're going to bother going to a place like this, it's probably a good idea to have a good attitude about it going in, which includes playing by the rules. She doesn't. It seems Austenland is designed for immersive roleplay. You go in for three weeks and live like you're in the Regency, with a fake name (and age, if you want, though props to Jane for not letting them change her age, which would have made her an unmarried spinster back then) and everything. And as Jane quickly learns, the clients of this place are all wealthy women looking for a little fake romance. Would you like a Wentworth? A Darcy? Even a Willoughby? But Jane isn't like those other women, those shallow, rich women. She's DIFFERENT. And you definitely know that, being inside her head. All of my complaints really tie together. Part of the reason I feel the premise is wasted is that Jane is so full of contempt for the whole endeavor, especially at the beginning. She dismisses the other clients, and at first doesn't even want to participate at all, instead sneaking off to the employee housing and making out with a gardener named Martin who she catches watching basketball. She's better by the end, but at the beginning I found it a bit unpleasant being in her head. It doesn't help that the whole tone of the novel is like that, just weirdly cynical and negative, when I wanted something light and fun, maybe poking some fun. There's poking here, but I wouldn't really call it "fun". The bitterness does lighten up towards the end when Jane starts participating in Austenland and making some actual human connections. Re: the reason Jane has given up on dating, supposedly because she's had such terrible luck with men. Throughout the book, we're treated to snippets from each of her past"boyfriends" (sometimes they don't even go on a date), and while some of the snippets are truly awful and made me feel bad for her, some of them don't make her look very great. (There is a lot of dated language in this book that I did not like. One "joke" about humiliating a former boyfriend using transphobic and sexist language was particularly memorable.) The last chapter was really good, though, I won't lie. There was some swooning. I enjoyed it; I'm not a monster. All in all, some bad, some bad, equally on both sides of the scale. I will probably check out the movie, because I love Keri Russell. [2.5 stars, rounded up]

  23. 4 out of 5

    AMythicalBeast

    I had hopes for this- truly I did. By the cover and the cryptic jacket blurb I thought this was a paperback Lost in Austen. Hopefully better, because I couldn't stand that series and still can't believe BBC produced it. So. Girl is obsessed with Colin Firth in his Darcy persona. Old benefactor lady discovers this and (because she is rich and apparently totally understands such obsessions) buys her a three week treat in Austenland- an English 'pretend' resort (disguised as an old manor house) wher I had hopes for this- truly I did. By the cover and the cryptic jacket blurb I thought this was a paperback Lost in Austen. Hopefully better, because I couldn't stand that series and still can't believe BBC produced it. So. Girl is obsessed with Colin Firth in his Darcy persona. Old benefactor lady discovers this and (because she is rich and apparently totally understands such obsessions) buys her a three week treat in Austenland- an English 'pretend' resort (disguised as an old manor house) where everyone speaks and acts as if they were back in Regency Era. By everyone, I mean rich Americans who lo-oved P&P and can afford the price of the place. The girl feels lonely and dejected amongst all the actors\holiday makers\rich regulars - and because she is a wannabe-Elizabeth, she, of course, hates the resident Darcy (in all his moody, cold and in-spurts-emotional glory) from the instant she sees him. Oh no, wait. In that first instant she drools, then gets on with the hating. Her Wickham is a gardener who is her only connection to the real world (because he watches american football and is oppressed by the Austenland organiser lady and compulsively ignored by all the house mates). So finally, after a lot of unimaginative angst, you may ask me: does the girl get a happy ending or does she fly off- independent and free of her Darcy obsession? Well- I answer- she realises that her Wickham is really a plot point made up by the Organiser-dragon-lady, because not all the 'guests' there want to romance english gentlemen who are Darcy's facsimiles. She also realises that Darcy is a regular english guy- divorced, an actor, and a hurt man who desperately wants to escape reality. And, she finally realises that the guy in the seat beside her, on her flight back home, is her true love- the sad eyed, confused Darcy-pretender. Then she screams and jumps off the plane. Okay, not really. But that, I think would have been a better ending.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    If you are a fan of the works of Jane Austen, and particularly of the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth - starring mini-series of Pride and Prejudice, then an opportunity to spend three weeks vacation in a manor in England, live action role playing as an Austenesque heroine is a dream come true. Since this is an expensive proposition, (the home, the clothes, the food, the staff of actors, the horses even) our heroine Jane Hayes is lucky enough to receive such a trip from a great aunt who wishes to both If you are a fan of the works of Jane Austen, and particularly of the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth - starring mini-series of Pride and Prejudice, then an opportunity to spend three weeks vacation in a manor in England, live action role playing as an Austenesque heroine is a dream come true. Since this is an expensive proposition, (the home, the clothes, the food, the staff of actors, the horses even) our heroine Jane Hayes is lucky enough to receive such a trip from a great aunt who wishes to both indulge Jane and shake her out of her romantic fixation of Firth's Darcy. If, after the proceeding paragraph you're thinking "what a perfect Fantasy Island plot", you're going to love this as much as I did. Jane goes, she meets a couple of flirt-worthy men, she discovers how comfortable Regency clothes are and how uncomfortable 200-year-old manners can be. No doubt you've guessed that Jane learns important lessons and goes home a changed woman. But within the framework of a predictable plot, Hale has managed to work in a number of delightful surprises, even as she satisfies the reader's expectations. It is a charming work, and a more devoted homage to Austen than any "continuation" of Pride and Prejudice that I've ever attempted to read. I haven't enjoyed a work of Austenia so much since the movie Clueless. Library copy

  25. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Oh dear. I seem to be in a two- and three-star rut in the last few weeks, and I had really hoped that Austenland would break me out of it. I think Shannon Hale is a really gifted author, and her books for young adults and middle grade readers have been consistently excellent: smart, well-written, engaging, interesting, with strong female characters that I just plain liked. But Austenland felt like a flop, a vapid paean to "chick flicks" and men in tight breeches. Now, I'm not an Austen hater or Oh dear. I seem to be in a two- and three-star rut in the last few weeks, and I had really hoped that Austenland would break me out of it. I think Shannon Hale is a really gifted author, and her books for young adults and middle grade readers have been consistently excellent: smart, well-written, engaging, interesting, with strong female characters that I just plain liked. But Austenland felt like a flop, a vapid paean to "chick flicks" and men in tight breeches. Now, I'm not an Austen hater or a Colin Firth fanatic. A few years ago our Thanksgiving theme was "Fried and Prejudice," which featured all the versions of P&P we could find but was mostly an excuse to spend seven hours with the BBC version. I like the story and the adaptation. But Austenland just couldn't pull me in. The main character, a straight thirty-something graphic designer from Manhattan, has a dirty little secret: she loves the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, the sideburns, the romance of Eliza and Mr. Darcy. She's been waiting for her own Mr. Darcy through a string of short and disappointing romances (or just dates) and is disgusted with herself for it. When a wealthy great-aunt dies knowing her secret, Jane inherits an all-expenses-paid trip to a Jane Austen fantasy land, an English country estate where electronic devices are confiscated and everyone adopts a Regency facade for three weeks. The ladies are vacationers, and the men are actors paid to woo them. Jane's romantic mishaps move the plot along to an Austenesque ending. There were some genuinely funny jokes in this book: one of the wealthy American vacationers affects a bad English accent, complete with enthusiastically incongruous expressions (what what) that aspire to Merchant Ivory but land squarely in Monty Python. But all in all it was more tedious than fun. To be fair, I tend to get irritated by most Hollywood movies starring characters like Jane -- thirtysomething yuppies yearning for romance and expensive weddings -- and I know that many people love them. So if you like those movies, this may be the book for you. If you're hoping for another Princess Academy or Book of a Thousand Days, then Austenland is likely to disappoint.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    Admittedly I’m late to the party with this one. Despite my love of all things Austen (and the 1995 miniseries version of Pride & Prejudice in particular, which, let’s admit, is what this particular book is all about), I had no intention of reading Austenland until I saw the movie. It’s a remarkably faithful adaptation with perfect casting, but I still enjoyed the book more because books. Lonely Jane Hayes receives a bequest from her aunt to spend three weeks in Austenland and live in the Reg Admittedly I’m late to the party with this one. Despite my love of all things Austen (and the 1995 miniseries version of Pride & Prejudice in particular, which, let’s admit, is what this particular book is all about), I had no intention of reading Austenland until I saw the movie. It’s a remarkably faithful adaptation with perfect casting, but I still enjoyed the book more because books. Lonely Jane Hayes receives a bequest from her aunt to spend three weeks in Austenland and live in the Regency world that obsesses her. But will she be able to let go of her Mr. Darcy fantasy? While phrases like, “Fantasy is the opiate of women,” gave me pause, I think in the end the novel actually supports living out your dreams, no matter how unrealistic. And I loved Mr. Nobley. Definitely a must-read for every Janeite! — Tasha Brandstatter from The Best Books We Read In September: http://bookriot.com/2015/10/01/riot-r...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Fenia

    How can i express my love for this book? This book is so much more than i anticipated!! Jane's list of 'boyfriends',her endless list of rejections,her crazy obsession with Mr.Darcy..well these things are me!! This book is one of my soulmate-books!!! <33 I can't even review this properly. I'm just going to tell you that if you love Jane Austen then you definitely should read this!!! A truly enchanting book that i've read in one freaking day!!! LOVED IT!!! ♥ PS: where is my ticket to Austenland How can i express my love for this book? This book is so much more than i anticipated!! Jane's list of 'boyfriends',her endless list of rejections,her crazy obsession with Mr.Darcy..well these things are me!! This book is one of my soulmate-books!!! <33 I can't even review this properly. I'm just going to tell you that if you love Jane Austen then you definitely should read this!!! A truly enchanting book that i've read in one freaking day!!! LOVED IT!!! ♥ PS: where is my ticket to Austenland?????

  28. 4 out of 5

    ``Laurie Henderson

    Austenland was a delight to read and one of the best of the Chick Lit genre that I've read so far. Plenty of laughs and a happy ending, what more could you ask for?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    All in all a worthy and enjoyable guilty pleasure. But afterwards, I had a few churning thoughts about this lively narrative about the 30-some lass who is treated to a vacation at Elizabeth Bennett Fantasy Camp, where she and the other ladies get to wear empire-waisted dresses and be wooed and courted with the highest of courtly manners. As the witty heroine's female counterparts -- desperate for escape from their mundane lives -- twittered about, being the wealthy, aging losers they were, I cou All in all a worthy and enjoyable guilty pleasure. But afterwards, I had a few churning thoughts about this lively narrative about the 30-some lass who is treated to a vacation at Elizabeth Bennett Fantasy Camp, where she and the other ladies get to wear empire-waisted dresses and be wooed and courted with the highest of courtly manners. As the witty heroine's female counterparts -- desperate for escape from their mundane lives -- twittered about, being the wealthy, aging losers they were, I couldn't help but think of an offensive bumper sticker I once saw: "Men age like wine. Women age like milk." Really, why must middle-aged women be a joke? Must we regard women approaching middle age as approaching doom? Also, I thought the BBC(?) series, "Regency House" had a similar aim: place modern women in an environment that is romantic yet oppressive to women. The show is better than this book. Both are entertaining, if you were to pick one, go with "Regency House." (view spoiler)[ And the lover rushing onto the plane at the last minute? That is soooooo 'Say Anything.' It's hard to come up with a grand romantic gesture that feels real and resonates. (hide spoiler)]

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Some books you read for enlightenment. Some you read to answer a specific question. Some you read to expand your horizons. And some you read simply because they go really well with bonbons, a mug of hot chocolate and a cozy blanket. Austenland by Shannon Hale resides solidly in that last category. It is the story of Jane Hayes, a New York City graphic artist who, at age 31, is still single and secretly obsessed with the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. You know the one: the one with the del Some books you read for enlightenment. Some you read to answer a specific question. Some you read to expand your horizons. And some you read simply because they go really well with bonbons, a mug of hot chocolate and a cozy blanket. Austenland by Shannon Hale resides solidly in that last category. It is the story of Jane Hayes, a New York City graphic artist who, at age 31, is still single and secretly obsessed with the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. You know the one: the one with the delectable Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Wealthy Great-Aunt Carolyn figures out Jane’s dark secret and arranges a three-week vacation for Jane at an exclusive English resort where women get to live out their fantasies as Regency-era ladies of good standing. Jane finds herself torn between her budding feelings for the brooding (and Darcy-like) gentleman, Mr. Nobley, and her forbidden relationship with the gardener, Martin. All the while, she wrestles to overcome her Austen fixation for good. Hale’s writing is light and witty. The book actually had me chuckling out loud now and then. Jane is the somewhat standard smart yet self-deprecating (and inept where it comes to relationships) heroine that we all know and love. As for the romance…well, I’m as susceptible to the charms of the Regency era as the next gal. Naturally, it warmed my heart and made me sigh happily as I clutched the book to my heaving bosom. And it’s all G-rated (well, maybe PG), as you’d expect from a tribute to Jane Austen. Throughout the book, Jane learns Important Facts About Life and Relationships™, but those periods of introspection are the only parts of the book that seem a little forced, where the light-hearted flow of the book seems to hesitate or drag just the slightest bit. The book is best when it doesn’t overthink things, and Jane is just allowed to enjoy her Austen-esque adventure without too much philosophizing. This applies to the reader, too: this book is perfect for those times when all you’re looking for is a few hours of mostly mindless diversion, a time to be alone with some bonbons, some chocolate and a little light romance.

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