Jess’s #CRB5 Review #2: Austenland by Shannon Hale

Austenland (Austenland, #1)After discovering her love of Pride and Prejudice (especially the epic BBC movie with Colin Firth), Jane’s great-aunt leaves her an all-expenses paid trip to Penbrook Park. Penbrook is an English country manor, all dolled up in every Austen and stocked with actors doing their best to fill the Regency fantasies of their guests.

For the next three weeks, Jane will live and breathe the world of corsets, strolls in the garden, and trying not to make a mess of her embroidery project – on top of navigating a charming gardener willing to break a few rules (how very George Wickham of him) and Mr. Nobley, one of the actors who is giving his very best Austen hero face.

The plot is pretty simplistic and if you know your Austen, you can easily figure out how things are going to go (even not knowing your Austen, you’ll latch on fast). Luckily, Shannon Hale makes it easy enough to root for Jane to grow up (and out) of her Darcy/Firth obsession – she’s a sharp woman who happens to be in love with what a fictional character represents. Who hasn’t been there? And I think this may be a case where the up-coming movie could actually elevate the plot and characters. There’s great potential for some smart sight-gags and the cast is rather promising.

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