by Shannon Hale
May 29th 2007 by Bloomsbury USA
Hardcover, 208 pages
1596912855 (isbn13: 9781596912854)
rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Sense pick for June 2007, Wall Street Journal "notable book" for summer 2007
Oh, my goodness. This book was such fun. As serious dramatic fiction, not so much, but as chicklit, it's intelligent, well-written, and just enchanting.
Jane Hayes has a specific obsession, with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy from "Pride and Prejudice." This obsession interferes with her ability to develop any lasting relationships (as early as tenth grade). When a wealthy aunt passes away, she bequeaths to Jane a three-week holiday in Pembrook Park, a living reenactment of Regency England. Jane discovers how much she misses real underwear, how much she loves wearing bonnets, and how she has hidden her real self in this Darcy fantasy.
The plot is, of course, somewhat predictable, but Hale has a magic touch. Even when the predictable happens, you feel comfortable and easy with it, more that it's a cherished friend rather than a obstinate relative.
Austenland is a quick, easy read, one that's fun and could be read over and over and over. I'm definitely running out to purchase one for my own collection.
OTHER REVIEWERS: The Story Siren