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Austenland (Austenland #1)

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3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  51,913 ratings  ·  8,813 reviews

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

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Hardcover, 197 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Bloomsbury USA
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Angela Richerson I was disappointed with the book. The characters were flat. I bought the book because I had seen the movie and books are always better... Not this…moreI was disappointed with the book. The characters were flat. I bought the book because I had seen the movie and books are always better... Not this time. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lucy
I am a Pride and Prejudice snob. I only like the BBC version, with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett. While there are parts of the newer, shorter, harried, and nuance free Hollywood version I enjoy, like the supposed-to-be-prettiest-sister Jane, who is actually much prettier than the actress in the BBC version, every time I've watched it (which, I grant, is only twice), I feel angry afterwards. First, Kiera Knightly is NOT Elizabeth Bennett. Elizabeth Bennett does n...more
Melinda
I crept quietly up the dark stairway, entered my room and tried my very best to shut the door silently behind me. It thudded despite my best efforts and I cringed, but Phil didn’t stir in his 3 o’clock-in-the-morning slumber. I sighed, relieved.
I felt so entirely sneaky. I felt as if I had cheated and there was a sting of guilt as I looked at the distorted red figures on the alarm clock through the empty glass on the night stand. “Please don’t wake up and look at what I see” I silently begged t...more
Lorraine
Dec 09, 2007 Lorraine rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Austen fans and Romantics

I was so engrossed in this book I read it in an afternoon. If I were still a teenager, this would be the book I'd read over and over.

I hate this book.

SPOILER ALERT

Why? I mean, if it was so engrossing that I couldn't put it down, why do I hate it? Because Jane Hayes, the main character, is me except that she gets to live out my fantasy and gets the happy ending only found in Austen novels.

Jane is in her early 30s, in a job she likes but does not love, convinced she must embrace her spinsterhood....more
Allie
Aug 11, 2007 Allie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Austen fans who love chick lit
I read this book all the way through only because I love Jane Austen, and because the concept of the book was quirky and irresisistible. It kind of felt like eating an entire bag of cotton candy.
I guess I just don't like chick lit, maybe. But the author of this book seems to have written mostly children's books before, and this struck me as a children's book ... but for women. And not even a well-written children's book. The dialogue in spots was read-out-loud bad and the main character was fla...more
Brandy Painter
I can't believe I just gave one star to a Shannon Hale book. Never thought that would happen.

Review originally posted here.

I really like Shannon Hale's books. And I love Jane Austen. It has taken me this long to get around to reading Shannon Hale's Austenland because I had a suspicion I might be disappointed. The book is a light quick read perfect for summer reading. If you are fan of romantic comedy, either in chick lit or chick flick form, then you might enjoy it. If you are a Jane Austen fan....more
Tatiana
Jun 29, 2011 Tatiana rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who will read anything that has Darcy in it
Shelves: 2009, chick-lit
Seriously, I don't even know why I bother to read any P&P sequels, prequels, re-tellings, or books "inspired" by P&P. They all end up being a complete and utter nonsense (with the exception of "Bridget Jones' Diaries"). "Austenland" is no exception, unfortunately.

The premise of the book is OK. 33-year old Jane Hayes is single and obsessed with "Pride and Prejudice" Mr. Darcy (just like you are, admit it, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this review). She inherits a 3-week vacation to "A...more
Rachelle
I picked up this book at about 10:30 last night thinking that I would just read the prologue to get the basic idea and then start it tomorrow. Alas... it was not meant to be. After about a half hour I whispered an apology to Aaron and slipped out of bed to go read in the living room. After reading late into the night and a quick nap (okay 5 1/2 hours) I got up this morning and didn't stop until I finished it. This book is so entertaining. I read a lot and I have often had a book bring me to tear...more
Eviltwinjen
Aug 30, 2007 Eviltwinjen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Chick lit fans, Austen fans who don't mind chick lit
Shelves: romance, fiction
Jane Hayes is a single thirty-something with a string of no-good boyfriends and an unhealthy obsession with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Didn't someone already write that book, you say? Banish thoughts of Bridget Jones from your mind, because Shannon Hale knows her Austen. A true knowledge and love of the novels that spawned the fantasy lifts Austenland above its chick-lit peers.

The fabulous conceit of the novel is that there's a Regency-era mansion in England that hosts an exclusive vaca...more
danielle
This book was horrendous, certainly not worth anyone's time to read it. I loved her children's books, so I was excited to see that she wrote an adult book about Jane Austen (a serious departure from her usual subjects, which turned out to be a serious mistake). This book was basically Bridget Jones, minus any snarkiness, and with a huge dose of sincerity. Horrendous. (I loved Bridget Jones, but it was bearable/lovable BECAUSE of its snarkiness and level of self awareness). Worst of all, it's set...more
Danielle
Jan 02, 2008 Danielle rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: beach readers
Let's be realistic here: almost every female goes through their Jane Austen obsession phase. This book explores the "what if" of that obsession, and takes it to a whole new, somewhat unhealthy level.

Jane is your typical thirty-year-old woman that harbors a secret Darcy/Colin Firth obsession, which slowly begins to take over her life. In an attempt to help Jane discover herself, her deceased Aunt sets aside a vacation for Jane in her will- to Austenland.

When we first arrive at Austenland, the r...more
Kristi
Jane Hayes is obsessed with Mr. Darcy. More particularly Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the film version of Pride and Prejudice. Can you blame her? Really? But, it might have something to do with why the thirty-three yeah old Jane is still unmarried and single. Her obsession for Mr. Darcy keeps any "real" man from measuring up.

Jane’s Aunt Carolyn is aware of her obsession. When Aunt Carolyn passes away she leaves Jane an all expense paid vacation to Pembrook Park, a resort that lets its...more
Claire Scott
Feb 21, 2008 Claire Scott rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of chick-lit
Shelves: grown-up
Oh dear. I seem to be in a two- and three-star rut in the last few weeks, and I had really hoped that Austenland would break me out of it. I think Shannon Hale is a really gifted author, and her books for young adults and middle grade readers have been consistently excellent: smart, well-written, engaging, interesting, with strong female characters that I just plain liked. But Austenland felt like a flop, a vapid paean to "chick flicks" and men in tight breeches. Now, I'm not an Austen hater or...more
Jodi
All in all a worthy and enjoyable guilty pleasure.

But afterwards, I had a few churning thoughts about this lively narrative about the 30-some lass who is treated to a vacation at Elizabeth Bennett Fantasy Camp, where she and the other ladies get to wear empire-waisted dresses and be wooed and courted with the highest of courtly manners.

As the witty heroine's female counterparts -- desperate for escape from their mundane lives -- twittered about, being the wealthy, aging losers they were, I cou...more
Honour
Nov 07, 2011 Honour rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one in their right minds and definitely NOT to Austen fans
Recommended to Honour by: Amazon
I had hopes for this- truly I did.
By the cover and the cryptic jacket blurb I thought this was a paperback Lost in Austen. Hopefully better, because I couldn't stand that series and still can't believe BBC produced it.
So. Girl is obsessed with Colin Firth in his Darcy persona. Old benefactor lady discovers this and (because she is rich and apparently totally understands such obsessions) buys her a three week treat in Austenland- an English 'pretend' resort (disguised as an old manor house) wher...more
Karen
This is a silly, silly, silly, summer read. It is certainly not Shannon Hale's best work (her best being Goose Girl). It is her first adult fare, so far as I know. In the book, her main character travels to England to stay at a Pemberly-like house where guests are treated to a Jane Austen experience. The whole book seems to be a lark for the author and appears to have been written and edited in a hurry. For example, her Aunt Carolyn suddenly becomes Aunt Caroline toward the end of the book --- w...more
Colleen
Oct 23, 2007 Colleen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who seek Mr. Darcy
I've been reproached for my tendency to judge books by their cover, the cardinal GoodReads sin. But I do. This book was no exception. The cover design is whimsical and charming, especially the upside-down Pemberly on the back. However, I became cautious when I saw the author's picture in the back... she looks about 12, or at least 22, has buggy eyes, and her smile is just too smug.

However, I sincerely take all of that back after reading this (I believe her first) book. I can even forgive that sh...more
TheBookofJules
This might be one of those rare instances where I actually prefer a movie to a book, even though I really enjoyed the book, too. The issue with this is I'm not 100% sure of my objectivity. Then again, can a review actually ever be objective when the feelings of the reader surely must influence it? I think reviewer Emily May once asked this question, too. (It may have been on her Gone Girl review). My answer to that question is no, a reviewer can never be 100% objective. And you know what? I'm no...more
Laura
Disjointed plot and incoherent themes. A woman who is obsessed with the BBC version of “Pride and Prejudice” longs to get over her Mr. Darcy fixation because she thinks it might be impeding her life. Then a great aunt dies and wills her a vacation at some Regency-themed manor house in England where she can become immersed in Austen’s world for three weeks. She somehow views this experience as her big chance to – stay with me – exorcise her Darcy obsession. I don’t get it either. Also confusing i...more
Jessa
Mar 13, 2008 Jessa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jessa by: Mom
This was a cute book. Maybe a little predictable but I still found myself curious to see how it was going to end and wasn't quite sure how I wanted it to end. Very enjoyable.
Annalisa
May 26, 2008 Annalisa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of Jane Austin and chick lit
Sometimes after sitting on a book, I forget the minor details that bothered me and like a novel more. So I'm changing my review...

The story is cheesy and light-hearted about a girl, Jane, who inherits a vacation to a resort set in 19th century England and sets out to conquer her obsession with Mr. Darcy and embrace her inevitable spinster doom.

What I liked about this book: it was a fun, quick read. I enjoyed a lot of the dialogue, especially the narrator's self-mocking tone. I enjoyed the story...more
Kristin
Apr 28, 2010 Kristin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
This is exactly what I wanted out of various Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner and other authors's books. A wonderful, light hearted romance about a real, likeable girl, with a bit of emotional baggage. It triumphs over Kinsella and the like's novels, for Hale leaves out the swearing, the soft porn, and the absolutley ridiculous over use of the married friend. Or, in Kinsella's case, the ludicrous change of careers (a lawyer to housemaid? I mean really, Kinsella). And really, what girl doesn't wi...more
Stephanie
Apr 06, 2009 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jane Austen fans, Lovers of Light Romance
Recommended to Stephanie by: Leslie O
Some books you read for enlightenment. Some you read to answer a specific question. Some you read to expand your horizons. And some you read simply because they go really well with bonbons, a mug of hot chocolate and a cozy blanket.

Austenland by Shannon Hale resides solidly in that last category. It is the story of Jane Hayes, a New York City graphic artist who, at age 31, is still single and secretly obsessed with the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. You know the one: the one with the del...more
Karen Jones
Sep 14, 2007 Karen Jones rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: not sure I would
Shelves: recentlyread
This book has a cute premise, but the writing disappointed me.
Jane Hayes is a woman in her early 30s who is obsessed by Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC production of "Pride and Prejudice." None of her many past relationships have worked out, and she is starting to feel that her preoccupation with Firth/Darcy is making her unable to have a long-lasting romance with any "real" guy. Jane's wealthy great-aunt dies and leaves her a legacy; a three-week trip to a pretend Regency country home...more
Jennefer
This is the type of Austen fan book I have been searching for - she allowed me to release the guilt of my Colin Firth/ Darcy obsession with a funny and interesting story about her obsession with Colin Firth / Darcy. I literally LOL'd hysterically at a couple of parts - maybe that was just my mood at the time but darn it I haven't done that with too many books. I loved the set up romances and I wondered thru the entire thing who was real and who wasn't knowing that it was set up that way hoping j...more
Fenia
How can i express my love for this book? This book is so much more than i anticipated!! Jane's list of 'boyfriends',her endless list of rejections,her crazy obsession with Mr.Darcy..well these things are me!! This book is one of my soulmate-books!!! <33 I can't even review this properly. I'm just going to tell you that if you love Jane Austen then you definitely should read this!!! A truly enchanting book that i've read in one freaking day!!! LOVED IT!!! ♥

PS: where is my ticket to Austenland...more
Valerie
Feb 01, 2012 Valerie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Katharine, Debbie
Recommended to Valerie by: happenstance
I bought this at a used books shop 2 nights ago. At first I thought it was a goofy romance of a book, and while it did have that element to it, there was also a much deeper look at why certain men and women want the ideal, and how we've been trained to look for the ideal instead of the real.

Plus, the whole scene in the airport was worth the entire book.
Allison (The Allure of Books)
How can anyone not think this book is an absolute joy to read? I mean, Shannon Hale dedicates it to Colin Firth. That is incredible, hilarious, and definitely makes her my hero. I love that she did that.

Is this book of the same caliber as Pride and Prejudice? Abso-fricken-lutely not. Did Shannon Hale in any way intend for it to be so? No. She wrote a sweet little frolic of a tale for all of us Austen lovers to have a little swoon over. And this Austen fan had just that.

Any self-respecting Austen...more
Sara
I found this book disappointing. The premise was cute - a woman is obsessed with Jane Austen and, especially, Mr. Darcy, and she goes to a place that caters to women like her, where she gets to live out her Austen fantasies while surrounded by other women like her and many, many actors playing roles.

There was little bits I liked about the book. I liked that the women at the place were not all the same. Jane, the main character, has trouble playing her role there and longs for the real world, bu...more
Kathryn
Jane is a 32-year-old with a string of relationships that ended badly (apparently she is a magnet for looser men who seem fabulous at first sight) and a growing obsession with Mr. Darcy--specifically the A&E movie version courtesy of Colin Firth which she keeps stashed in her houseplants so no one will know the deepest fantasies of her heart. Well, one day her ailing great-aunt DOES find out and, a few months later, Jane finds she has been willed a vacation at Pembroke Park (a Regency manor...more
Julia
This book was okay. It had a few laugh out loud moments, but overall I expected more--both from the plot and from the author's standards which I know should be better. There was a little language and innuendo that brought the book down to a cheap level. I wanted to like it, I really did, but my opinion is that it came off as ordinary -- not a keeper.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
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Shannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling author of six young adult novels: the Newbery Honor book Princess Academy, multiple award winner Book of a Thousand Days, and the highly acclaimed Books of Bayern series. She has written three books for adults, including the upcoming Midnight in Austenland (Jan. 2012), companion book to Austenland. She co-wrote the hit graphic novel Rapunzel's Reveng...more
More about Shannon Hale...
The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1) Princess Academy (Princess Academy, #1) Book of a Thousand Days Enna Burning (The Books of Bayern, #2) River Secrets (The Books of Bayern, #3)

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“He had a dashing smile. It nearly dashed right off his face.” 225 likes
“What are you doing?"
"Ya!" said Jane, whirling around, her hands held up menacingly.
It was Mr. Nobley with coat, hat, and cane, watching her with wide eyes. Jane took several quick (but oh so casual) steps away from Martin's window.
"Um, did I just say, 'Ya'?"
"You just said 'Ya,'" he confirmed. "If I am not mistaken, it was a battle cry, warning that you were about to attack me.
I, uh..." She stopped to laugh. "I wasn't aware until this precise and awkward moment that when startled in a startled in a strange place, my instincts would have me pretend to be a ninja.”
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