For you Austen lovers, you know who you are.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman, no matter how she appears on the outside, has a certain amount of fascination with all things Jane Austen. There has been a resurgence of interest in all things Regency in the last decade. Numerous films have been made in tribute to Jane Austen — adaptations of her novels, visions of how her life must have been, and a Bollywood spectacle which is pure fluffy entertainment. Chances are, you know exactly which movies I’m talking about. I don’t even have to hyperlink them for you. (I will admit to having a favorite version if P&P — an indie film that casts Elizabeth as a 20-something novelist and Darcy as the stiff British acquisition editor that don’t hit it off right away. Love it.)

In recent years, I’ve felt a little embarrassed over my fresh lack of interest in all things Austen. Well, all things Pride & Prejudice. It feels over done and is bordering on a cliche. Women are obsessed. People are obsessed. My little sisters are obsessed. I don’t watch the BBC mini-series unless I have the flu and need something to distract me. But the sight of the repugnant Collin’s is usually enough to send me tottering off in search of a barf-bucket (horror movies could be made about that man!). I cringe when I see books encouraging women to hold out for their very own Fitzwilliam Darcy.

So it was ironic that I stayed up until one a.m. reading this book yesterday:

It’s the story of an Austen-addict who is sent off to a Regency-Era living enactment called Pembrook Park…an Austenland where pampered women are courted by men with top hats and tight breeches. Thanks to a kindly dead aunt with a generous will, She’s going to have one final fling with her Darcy fantasy before accepting the fact that there is no Mr. Darcy in real life. She goes and falls in love with…well, that’d be telling.

The book is predictable in some areas but very well written. It was engrossing, even though I’m rather burnt out on the P+P plot.  I wanted the heroine to get over her unhealthy fixation and realize that Darcy wasn’t the answer. She did but she didn’t. I don’t know if I was expecting or wishing for her to run off and fall in love with someone completely un-Darcy or un-Austen, like a friendly gas station attendant who has no fortune, no prospects, and only a nice personality. (She didn’t do that either.) By and by, she did grow. She did work through her obsession and there were a smattering of nice warm fuzzies when she ended up with exactly who you thought she should. Shannon Hale is an excellent writer.

Whether you are a current or recovering Austen addict, read the book. You’ll adore it.

2 Responses to “For you Austen lovers, you know who you are.”
  1. Fig says:

    Haha, I’m subscribed to Shannon Hale’s blog, so when I saw there was a post with Austenland in it on my feed, I thought for a sec it was her post and was very very confused. 😉 I’m not a big P&P fan, but I do love Shannon Hale, so I listened to this one on audiobook a few months ago. Not really sure what I thought of it either, but I loved the creativity.

    BTW, your favorite version of the P&P movie is mine also. =)

    • caitlinmuir says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one! I was afraid I was going to flaming comments for my non-traditional views on Darcy. 😉

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