Knitme23's Reviews > Austenland

Austenland by Shannon Hale
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Jun 21, 13

Read in June, 2013

Well, this tie in to the Jania that ruled the world a few years ago (it was pub'd in 2009) is an mildly amusing read. Because it's set at a place that reenacts Austen's society, the plot doesn't have to walk that line between outright copying and pale imitation that has doomed so many other retellings. However, it's only okay for several reasons:
1. the editor was asleep at the switch for several pages: ". . . keeping one eye on the twins battling over blocks, the other eye ensconced in a throw pillow." (16). What? I reread that about 5 times, trying to figure out if the heroine had a fake eye or if the printer had skipped a few words. "He was a few years younger than her" (134). . . younger than her was? Please. And then, before she leaves, our Jane "used [a piece of metal] to carve Catherine Heathcliff to the underside of the windowsill." (171) I think American English is Hale's first language, and don't we say on or into in that case? And then, "On impulse, she took his hand, rubbed his index finger between her fingers. It was an intimate gesture, yet felt natural." (191). It IS an intimate gesture? Weird. There were a few other odd constructions--nothing that an alert editor wouldn't catch--but they began to grate.
2. The bigger reason Austenland is only okay is that the woman's character is just never presented in a coherent way. Her mood varies, and she gives herself so many pep talks that I kept losing track of why she needed a pep talk *this* time: was she too careless? Too needy? Playing too much in the role, or too little? The constant twittering gets a bit old.

So why did I read this? Well, O Magazine said there's a movie coming out, and it seems like just the right kind of eye candy for August, and I wanted to be prepared. Now I am!
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06/21/2013 marked as: read

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