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The Austen Escape Paperback – November 7, 2017
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'Reay's exquisite phrasing will resonate with readers and provide much fodder for pondering. . .this is a beautifully written novel and one to be savored and enjoyed.' (RT Book Reviews, 4 stars)
'Reay handles. . .scenes with tenderness and a light touch, allowing the drama to come as much from internal conflict as external, rom-comand ndash;type misunderstandings. . .Thoughtful escapism.' (Kirkus)
'Unlike many books written in homage to Austen, this is not a modern retelling of any of her stories, but rather a romp among contemporary Austen fanatics. Readers eager for anything Austen-related will enjoy this clean romance that explores the concept of escapism and what it may reveal about our real lives.' (Publishers Weekly)
About the Author
Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries—who provide constant inspiration both for writing and for life. She is the author of three previous novels, and her debut, Dear Mr. Knightley, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist, winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut, and winner of two Carol Awards for Best Debut and Best Contemporary. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and is a wife, mother, runner, and tae kwon do black belt. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine and her family recently moved back to Chicago. Visit her on line at katherinereay.com Facebook: katherinereaybooks Twitter: @Katherine_Reay
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I read this book in about a day and a half. Katherine Reay's "The Austen Escape" is a charming romance novel set in modern times. Isabel and Mary have been friends since childhood, but things have been strained in their relationship as they've grown into adulthood. Mary took a job working in a flourishing tech job while Isabel is working on her doctoral thesis on Jane Austen.
Isabel's father is angry that is taking her so long to finish her degree, so he pays for Mary and Isabel to go to a two week immersion into Jane Austen's world in an old manor house in England. There, the guests are fitted with the proper attire and encouraged to take on the roles of someone from Austen's novels.
Unfortunately, Isabel suffers a relapse a sort of hysteria while there, and truly believes she is Emma from the novel. A kind, gentle war veteran named Grant takes a special care for Isabel while Mary contacts Isabel's old doctors to figure out what to do.
As one would expect from any Jane Austen novel, Reay introduces confusion, miscommunication and more into her book. I liked it for its romance parts and the history, as Reay has done her work. My only complaint is that the book is sort of slow to start, and I almost put it down because of it. I'm glad I didn't, but the beginning wasn't a real attention grabber.
This author is not very consistent for me. I've read one of her books that I absolutely loved, another that was only so-so, and this one is I'm having trouble rating.
I liked the setting and the premise (sign me up for an Austen immersive vacation!), so that was fun to read.
I had a really hard time with Mary's relationship with Isabel, her "best friend". I won't say more, but it really irritated me. Isabel is a very annoying character, to say the least.
Nathan was awesome. I really liked him, but I would have liked to read more scenes between him and Mary. I didn't feel like there was enough.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to Austen and KR fans.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Regardless, this is a story that I will re-read several times.