Austenland by Shannon Hale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Well, I won't rate this as low as some people, but I do think it could have been a lot better. I kept thinking of Bridget Jones while I was reading it and then trying to pull myself back into the 1800's. Jane was given a treat/cure-all by her ancient relative and she was to go to this 3 week Jane Austen world where Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett still reigned. the modern Jane was holding ever male on her radar to the Darcy standard and found them lacking. This was a trip to dissuade her from this faulty thinking and turn her to some more realistic marital prospects.
Jane becomes immersed in Austenland, but she finds it not exactly to her liking. She is more modern than she thinks and she vacillates back and forth. This bothered me a lot because it wasn't very skillfully done. The incident with the gardener is the first problem to show up. It happens so quickly that the reader has to wonder if Jane even wanted the life of a Jane Austen heroine. If she was looking for the long courtship that is part and parcel with this life, she didn't act like it.
From there it struggles on. The whole idea of an Austenland was interesting and for that reason, I continued to read the book. Jane wasn't considered an A+ client because she didn't have the money to keep coming back year after year, so she was relegated to the end of the queue into the dining room, while a return client who was a 50 year old Dolly Parton was showered with the full treatment.
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