Monday, June 16, 2008

Austenland by Shannon Hale

ISBN: 978-1596912861
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Hardcover: 208 pages
Genre: Chick Lit
First Line: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a thirty-something woman in possession of a satisfying career and fabulous hairdo must be in want of very little, and Jane Hayes, pretty enough and clever enough, was certainly thought to have little to distress her.
One Word Review: Cute

Jane Hayes is a young New York woman who secretly longs for a Mr. Darcy of her own. And, not just any Mr. Darcy - Mr. Darcy of the Colin Firth variety as seen in the BBC's version of Pride and Prejudice. (Can we really blame her??) When she inherits a vacation to an English resort that caters to women with similar 'tastes', she looks at it as her chance to overcome her fixation once and for all.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I feel I must admit that I have a bit of a Mr. Darcy fetish myself. Anyone who's a fan of Austen and has ever seen the BBC's adaptation of Pride and Prejudice would probably be lying if they said they didn't secretly fantasize about being swept off their feet by Firth/Darcy. Something about that sort of brooding arrogance is incredibly attractive. So, when I read the premise of this book, I was hooked. I've read a couple of Shannon Hale's other works (The Goose Girl and Enna Burning), both of which I really enjoyed, so I was very optimistic.

I wasn't disappointed, but I wasn't blown away by Austenland's greatness, either. It was definitely enjoyable - I read most of it while waiting for a flight, and it kept me entertained. But if you're looking for some deep meaning of life stuff, this isn't the book. For the same reason, I doubt it would make a great book discussion group choice - there's not much really to discuss. It's fluff of the girly-est variety. I'm not saying that's a bad thing - I'm just saying that it's not going to change your outlook on life or even your outlook on literature. What it will do is put a smile on your face. It's a simple, sweet story that just makes the reader feel good (unless you abhor book-fluff, in which case perhaps you'd be better off skipping this one). Overall, it makes for a pleasant few hours.

Buy this book on Amazon


Elizabeth said...

I read this one recently, and totally agree with your review. It is complete and utter fluff, but a lot of fun, too!