Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Book:  Midnight in Austenland
Author:  Shannon Hale
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Date:  February 6, 2012
Source:  Publisher via Netgalley
My grade:  B

When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests' Austen fantasies.

Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn't sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside's mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte's heart be a sign of real-life love?

The follow-up to reader favorite Austenland provides the same perfectly plotted pleasures, with a feisty new heroine, plenty of fresh and frightening twists, and the possibility of a romance that might just go beyond the proper bounds of Austen's world. How could it not turn out right in the end?


I don’t really review adult books here.  Well, I don’t really read many adult books, but I loved Shannon Hale’s Austenland, so when I saw that there was a second one, I had to read it.

What a wonderful, guilty little pleasure these novels are!  I’m not sure that these are books for Shannon Hale fans as much as they are books for Jane Austen fans.  They do a great job of capturing that whole Austenian feel.  They are light and sweet and such an indulgence!

This novel was the same premise as the original, but with a different storyline.  I like the way she threw in the whole mystery element in this novel.  I wasn’t sure that she was actually going to take it as far as she did, but wow!  Talk about some pretty heavy mystery stuff going on in the Jane Austen house!  It’s like taking Clue and throwing it into Northanger Abbey!

Although this is an adult book, it could easily be read by older teens as well.  Probably only Austen fans would really appreciate the loveliness of this book.  Teen readers are not really going to identify with the main character, Charlotte, but girls who love Jane Austen will appreciate the Austen story brought to life on vacation. 

I’m hoping that Shannon Hale is going to turn this into a series.  I think that she could continue to write these and take elements from different Austen works for each one with the common theme being the vacation to Austenland. 

My grade for this book is a B, maybe even a B+.  It didn’t make me run screaming to the phone or my Facebook page to tell the world, but much like in Austen’s world, I could simply sit in the parlor and savor the loveliness of the book.  It was an indulgence in a sweet little petit four of a novel.  Austen fans, you will love it!

Huge thanks to Bloomsbury USA and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.  I received no compensation for my review.

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