Book Reviews of Austenland

Author: Shannon Hale
ISBN-13: 9781596912854
ISBN-10: 1596912855
Publication Date: 5/29/2007
Pages: 208
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 90 ratings
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

13 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Austenland on
Helpful Score: 3
Anyone that has drooled over Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice will relate to this book! It was a fun, light read with enjoyable characters, written quite well. I just wish that it was longer. I read a library copy, but would very much like to have a copy of my own for my library.
reviewed Austenland on + 310 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This was a fun read. I found it a bit short though, only 194 pages in my copy, which is more of a young adult length, but it was still a good read. Jane is an amusing character - very forthright with her feelings and quite quick on her feet. Some of her dialogue made me laugh. The book was segmented by short paragraphs about boyfriends Jane has had in her life (13 so far), which added to the amusement and explained some of Jane's character. Because her love interests in this book were both actors (a Mr. Nobley who finds her "impertinant" and Martin Jasper, who breaks role and secretly watches basketball with her in his room), we don't see very much about their backstory, except for a bit when Jane uses her journalist friend's connections. I think that adds to the surreal feeling of - is she really doing this? Pretending? And the oddity of a whole household of people pretending to be in the Regency era for a few rich people's amusement. Jane struggles with this throughout the book, but manages to still be herself while in the ridiculous surroundings.

A complaint I see a lot from people when reading this type of book is how cliched it is - repetition of the same stories created by Austen in the modern world, or trying to continue her books in a bad fan-fiction way. I admit, if that's not your thing, you may not like this book, because this had a lot more references to the BBC adaptations than to the actual books. I'm not sure that accuracy is the point though. This is just a fun story, and I think it does point out the value or real life over fantasy. And while Jane she does meet someone who she at first considers rather Darcy-esque, we don't have an as obvious Lizzy/Darcy parallel as in other books. OK there is one, but it's not bad. It was a fresh spin and I enjoyed it.
reviewed Austenland on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This review is about the audio version, not the book itself. The woman reading the book does some serious British accents, and a couple of them are so cringeworthy, I had to turn the sound down. It made my teeth crunch. Pretty awful to listen to, and I LOVE British accents. Just a word to the wise.
reviewed Austenland on + 270 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I am a huge Jane Austen fan, and found this today while in Barnes and Noble. I read it within 2 hours because I just couldn't put it down. Would love it if a place like this really existed somewhere, especially here in America and at an affordable rate lol. Jane is a wonderful character and is down on her luck with men, and her aunt left her this 3 week vacation to "immerse" herself in Austen's times. I love how in the book she describes each of her "boyfriends" before each chapter. I can really relate to the character, and hope there will be a sequel.
reviewed Austenland on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Jane Hayes is the envy of every Austenphile. Her aunt offers her the chance to visit Pembrooke Park where she is thoroughly immersed in Jane Austen's world. She lives the lifestyle, meets the men, and even (dare we hope)falls in love. All in hopes of curing her Austen obsession. The book is well-written, witty, and wonderfully enchanting. It is Hale at her best and it leaves the rest of us wondering... Any chance we can go?
reviewed Austenland on + 962 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Pembrook Park, with its Victorian-era architecture, costumes, and mannerisms, may seem like a haven for those with lots of cash to spend and craving a departure from the modern world to live a romantic Austenian three-week getaway. For Jane Hayes, however, a thirty-something-year-old New Yorker whose obsession with Mr. Darcy has literally ruined her love life, Pembrook Park just might be her worst nightmare. The vacation was bequeathed her by a wealthy relative who figured out her unhealthy fantasties. Jane has no idea what the relative was thinking. Sticking her into a place where she will undoubtedly get her hopes up for a happy ending?

As Jane navigates the life of an early nineteenth-century British woman, she meets the acquaintances of actors and actresses who work at Pembrook, as well as some other women in her position, there to have a good time. And in spite of her determination to give up men altogether, she can't help but be interested in two: Martin, a tall and charming gardener who makes her feel real, and Mr. Nobley, a closed-off, mysterious gentleman in the household, whose arrogance she despises.

Living at Pembrook Park is a surreal experience, and yet Jane grows into her real-world self, something she couldn't do when she was living her regular old boring life. She begins to realize that it is not healthy for her to dwell on an impossibly perfect man anymore, and is determined to rid herself of that fantasy once and for all. That means rejecting Mr. Nobley's engagement proposal at the end of the three weeks, a proposal that sounds like it comes straight out of a script. Because that's what it is: an act...right? And rejecting it is the right thing to do...right?

What if Jane ends up getting everything just when she chooses to give it up?

AUSTENLAND is fantastic! It's a brand new spin on the old Austen obsession for fans of the novels and movies. Sometimes fabricated, other times completely original, AUSTENLAND was a delight for me to read.
reviewed Austenland on + 80 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really enjoyed this book. It was light and easy, and fun to read. Who wouldn't like to spend some time in Regency England?
reviewed Austenland on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a fun read. I've never been to the beach, but I imagine this would make a great beach read. It's fast, funny and romantic at times. I was really into the first guy the main character makes out with, but I didn't mind the story changes. I like how it ended, seemed pretty realistic to me. I'm glad it wasn't one of those find yourself stories where the girl ends up alone at the end. Highly recommended to Jane Austen fans who aren't looking for something serious.
reviewed Austenland on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I honestly don't know why I bought the book. It's not my usual type, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was easy to imagine the scenes as they played out. I liked Shannon Hale's writing style and would not hesitate to read another of her books.
reviewed Austenland on + 76 more book reviews
I love Jane Austen and especially PRide and Prejudice. This was a fun, quick fantasy read.
reviewed Austenland on + 153 more book reviews
Info from back of the book: Jane Hayes has a lot going for her-a good career in New York City, a decent apartment, really fabulous hair-but her love life leaves something to be desired. It might have something to do with her secret obsession with Pride and Prejudice, the BBC adaptation, the one with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. How could any real man compare? she might just give up men forever. But when a great-aunt bequeaths her a paid vacation to a special resort for Austen-obsessed women. Jane decides she deserves one last hurrah in fantasyland. Decked out in empire-waist gowns and flirting with obliging hired actors, Jane feels thrillingly like Elizabeth Bennett. Of course, it's all a game. Or maybe her fantasies of a real-life Darcy weren't so ridiculous after all. I enjoyed the book and had wanted to see the movie, however, it was not playing in our area. I was not disappointed I enjoyed it very much. I was going to see the movie with a teen girl if I had her read the book I would discuss some of the male/female interactions with her.
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Reviewed by The Compulsive Reader for

Jane Hayes has a serious problem. And that problem is an obsession -- an obsession with Mr. Darcy, the immortal hero of Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

When a well-off great-aunt gives Jane a vacation to a Regency-era resort in England, Jane hopes she can finally overcome this obsession of hers. But as she finds herself dressed to the nines in time period apparel and flirting in true Austen fashion with the ever-charming male actors, fantasy and reality blend together until the two are indistinguishable.

This novel, while at times a little unbelievable, was wholly enjoyable and amusing. Not lacking in wit or intelligence, AUSTENLAND is a carefree and lighthearted story that will delight even the most die-hard Austen fans.
reviewed Austenland on + 38 more book reviews
This was a pleasant book and a quick read. Not something that I would read again, but I enjoyed it as a summer vacation read.