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Midnight in Austenland: A Novel Hardcover – January 31, 2012
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About the Author
Shannon Hale is the New York Times bestselling author of six young adult novels, including the Newbery Honor book Princess Academy, and two books for adults, Austenland and The Actor and the Housewife. She has also cowritten two graphic novels, Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack, with her husband, Dean Hale. They live with their four small children near Salt Lake City, Utah.
Top Customer Reviews
I probably ought to start this review out with a confession- I am a huge Shannon Hale fangirl so if you're looking for an unbiased review this is not the review for you.
Because I am a huge fan of Shannon's books I went into Midnight in Austenland with really high expectations. And in true Shannon Hale fashion my expectations were left in the dust.
I loved being back in the world of Austenland. It was so fun to see old friends and meet new characters. I hadn't realized that I wanted to know more about certain characters until I met them again in this book. I really enjoyed getting to know a few of the familiar faces a bit more. As for the new cast of characters, I was a little worried I wouldn't connect with Charlotte as well as I did with Jane in Austenland. I am single and obsessed with Mr. Darcy so it was really easy for me to understand Jane. Charlotte is a successful business woman, a mother of two and divorced. She and I don't have a lot in common. But that is the beauty of Shannon's writing- she creates characters that. even though there is very little common ground, you can understand and love.
Midnight in Austenland is classic Shannon Hale- it has a strong heroine, is laugh out loud funny, poignant, thought provoking, adventurous and has just the right amount of swoon. In addition to all of those wonderful qualities Shannon has thrown a mystery into the mix. I have to admit that this crime show junkie had a huge grin on her face when one of the characters makes a comment about being on CSI Pembrook Park. Trying to discern between fantasy and reality is already difficult at Pembrook Park, adding a puzzle to be solved made this trip to Austenland even better than the first!
Charlotte is divorced and struggling to overcome the emotional roadblocks that have been placed in her path by her cheating ex-husband. She begins to wonder if she is unlovable. A wise friend tells her that she should read Jane Austen's books. She does and is instantly enthralled by the classic works. (I can relate, I love Jane Austen!)
Her ex has the kids for a couple of weeks and she takes a much needed vacation. Where is a wealthy divorcee who loves Austen going to go? Austenland, of course. The place where you can act out your Austen fantasies and dress in regency clothing.
In this book Shannon Hales writes with an edge that I don't remember in her other books. Her voice is fun and sarcastic at the same time. I really enjoyed her writing style. I smiled at several of her quirky word choices.
Hale adds a level of suspense and mystery to this novel. This book has romance more as a sub-plot with the focus being on a murder mystery. In several instances the heroine, Charlotte, chides herself on letting her imagination run away with her, just like the heroine in Northanger Abbey.
Charlotte's growth and self confidence soars. She begins to realize that not all of her marital problems centered on her. She becomes less the victim and more the heroine. She learns to take charge of her life and not let her life been engulfed by her business and keeping her children away from heartache.
While I enjoyed this novel, it fell a little flat for me in a few places. I liked, but not loved, the romance. I do, however, recommend the book to anyone who wishes they could live out their fantasies as a member of one of Jane Austen's books.
This book does contain mild swearing. I received a copy to review.
As part of the entertainment, the three couples are part of a mystery involving a long ago event at a local abbey, and parts of the story are doled out over several nights. Unfortunately for Charlotte, it suddenly becomes all too real for her and she is left wondering what is really happening at Pembrook Park. Who can she rely on for help?
I always have wanted to go on one of these Austen trips so the whole premise of this book intrigued me. Charlotte is an interesting character, not the typical dumpee. She has a successful business and seems to be a pretty intelligent woman who ignored the signs that her marriage was imploding. On her vacation she has the typical reactions one would being in a strange country, acting out another period of time, and finding oneself in the middle of something very unsettling. The mystery factor is ramped up in this book and the romance takes a back seat but still has a satisfying conclusion. Ms. Hale solves an obvious problem with a simple but effective plot twist so all can end well. I enjoyed the first book in the series and this one was just as good.