Friday, 7 August 2015

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Written by     : Shannon Hale
Published in  : 2007
Genre             : Romance, Fiction, Chick-lit
Jane is a young New Yorker who can never seem to find the right man-perhaps because of her secret infatuation with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen fanatics, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Will total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?
Uff! Finally, I finished reading it (Sigh). Frankly speaking, I chose the wrong one to start with the Austen in August event. I have been doing the preparations ever since it was announced @ Roof Beam Reader, ordered this book the same month and have been anticipating to read it. But it did no good to me, indubitably!

I love Jane Austen novels, she is one of my favorite authors and admire her works, indeed. It's the first time I decided to read a Austen inspired novel and it did let me down. 

Austenland tells the story of Jane Hayes, a Janite thirty-something woman obsessed with Mr. Darcy, played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of 'Pride and Prejudice'. Her infatuation makes it difficult for her to find a perfect husband, which resulted in thirteen failed relationships. Her rich, Great-Aunt Carolyn, who knew Jane's problem, leaves something in her will to Jane -- A trip to Pembrook Park, where she can actually live the fantasies of Regency era in a Austenland. There she meets the swoon-worthy gentlemen and well mannered ladies, but not able to recognize whether they are acting or being real. Hoping to get over with the Mr. Darcy obsession, she tries to go on with the flow and enjoy the Regency life for three weeks. Her days in Pembrook park become more interesting when she meets Martin, a gardener and Mr. Nobley, a real version of  Mr. Flitzwilliam Darcy.

First of all, I have not seen the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice yet, simply because I like the 2005 version of it and I have never been infatuated with any of those period drama heroes (well, may be a bit with John Thornton from North and South). Even if you do, why feel ashamed of it?. Jane tries to hide her P&P DVD inside a houseplant?! Really?? I just don't get it.

Let's talk about being a fanatic or lunatic over the Regency era. It's true, I admit. I did live in that same fantasy when I read more Classics and was addicted to BBC period dramas ( That's how I became an Anglophile). Visiting English villages is my dream. However, those (silly) dreams did not conflict my daily life,you see. I could not follow the part where she held on to the fantasies and messed up her gorgeous life.  

Jane goes through many ups and downs while living her dream, starts to consider it as a therapy to cure her craziness and be done with Mr. Darcy syndrome. There was nothing intriguing in this novel, even her dallying with Mr. Martin and the romance with Mr. Nobley.

Forget the flaws of this book.I am being a cruel critic today. May be, it's a wonderful novel and it just sounds dull inside my Janite mind, it's just me comparing Austenland with Pride and Prejudice, the best novel ever written!

Austenland is a quick , fluffy, light-hearted read, has witty conversations and a good comparison between living in a dreamy-world and the real-world. Nothing much to tell about Austenland. I recommend it to all those Regency era admirers.  

*The End*

My Rating (2/5)

Happy Reading!

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