Paige's Reviews > Austenland

Austenland by Shannon Hale
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's review
Mar 27, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: own

The reviews really scare me on this one, especially from the Shannon Hale lovers, because I love this author too. We'll see.

Update! See this review and much more at

I will go ahead and put this out there. This is 100 percent and total Chick-Lit. I'm not one to usually read much of this genre because it always just seems so...fluffy. But that's what you're expected to read poolside in the summer, right? I picked this one up because it was by a favorite author of mine. She's written one of my favorite fairy tale/fantasies- The Goose Girl, as well as Princess Academy and The Book of a Thousand Days (that one's waiting for me on my shelf). I knew this was out of her usual genre, and I had heard other Hale fans dismiss this work as one that just didn't live up to expectations, but after reading one book about the Holocaust and then finishing an agonizing 925 pages of weirdness (1Q84), I decided fluffy was just what I needed. That said, I have to agree that it was definitely not up to Hale's usual standards. I enjoy her fantasy books much more.

The protagonist of this book sometimes gave me the urge to slap her as she wallowed in self-pity a little too often. She also seemed to put herself down more than was necessary. Yes, she'd gone through a ton of terrible dates that left her feeling useless and abandoned, but a lot of those failed relationships were because of the complete jerks she was involved with. When she gets to Austenland, she can't make up her mind for the longest time whether or not to fully invest herself in the game and really play along. I wanted to yell through the ink on the pages for her to, "Get on with it!"

When she did finally "get on with it" the book picked up. I wanted to know what secrets she would uncover in a house full of actors who never broke character. It was fun to be enveloped in someone else's fantasy of living out a Jane Austen novel and all the frivolity that it entails. I loved the summary of each of her failed relationship as chapter starters. They were humorous and helped the reader grow in sympathy towards Jane. My favorite character was an older, clueless woman who is desperate for romance. She must have gleaned all her knowledge of English conversation from Monty Python reruns because she constantly cries out things like, 'Pip pip, spot on!" or, "I say, that's daft, cherrio!" whenever the conversation lags. It was hilarious. The ending was probably my favorite part as I always love surprises and gave me some much needed closure.

For an innocent, slightly mindless beach read, this is perfect, especially if you have a thing for Mr. Darcy and Regency style decorum yourself. If you're looking for something with more depth and substance, leave this book at home.
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Reading Progress

March 27, 2012 – Shelved
July 11, 2012 – Started Reading
July 11, 2012 –
page 59
29.95% "cute!"
July 13, 2012 –
page 85
July 13, 2012 –
page 124
July 14, 2012 – Finished Reading
October 26, 2015 – Shelved as: own

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Lauren I have this on my list! I've heard good things about it. Hope you like it!

Paige It's complete chic-lit, but I guess you need a little of that in the summer lol. It's very cute so far.

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