2004362Austenland (Austenland #1) by Shannon Hale
Release Date: May 27, 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own? – Goodreads


I used my library’s overdrive app in mass amounts. I’ve listened to romance, New Adult, Young Adult, middle grade, grade school. I say this because the “Recommended to You” section is always a muddle of things that I would never read. However, this came up and I thought “why not!”

That was probably a mistake on my part.  Because, while I enjoyed Austenland and Hale’s writing; Austenland ultimately was not for me. This was more a fault on my part than the book’s fault. I’m not a big Austen fan. I know, I know. I am a disappointment to all. I am also not the biggest Pride and Prejudice fan. While I appreciate it, it doesn’t make me want to re-read it and be part of the story. Jane Hayes however loves Mr. Darcy, he is her secret obsession and is upset because no main can compare to him. (I think I threw up writing that.)

When a relative dies, Jane is thrilled to find out that she has been given a gift of a trip to an English resort that specializes in Regency-era acting. What Jane doesn’t expect is to find out how seriously they take their roles, and although it is role playing, it is stressful and Jane spends most of her time double guessing herself. Quickly Jane isn’t sure what’s real and what’s acting and it not only messes with her, but also messes with the reader. What’s real? What’s part of the game? Are the feelings real? Are they too part of it? What Hale does, is create this believable world that made me feel like I was there with the characters.

While I enjoyed the story line, I found Jane to spend much of her time annoying me. I understand that Jane is supposed to be in the same vein of Elizabeth Bennet, but this version didn’t work for me, and I’m not a purist. I also enjoyed the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but I slogged through this. Which is hard to admit for multiple reasons 1) I read fairly fast and 2) this was an audiobook., I was already playing it at 2x normal speed. I should have devoured this book quickly, but there was something lacking that made me want to continue on daily.