Mundie Moms

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flashback Friday #4- Austenland, A Novel by Shannon Hale

Flashback Friday was inspired while trying to figure out away to help spread the word about books that aren't new releases. This is a weekly post we'll doing that will include a review of a book that's been out for awhile or one that's been sitting on our shelves begging us to read it. Today's Flashback Friday is: Austenland by Shannon Hale.

I don't know why it's taken me so long to read this book. I bought it a few years ago when a local bookstore was going out of business and it's sat on my shelf since then. Well, except that one time I started to read it and then got distracted by a little book called Twilight. Luckily I've saved it and enjoyed every moment I spent reading it.

Published by: Bloomsbury
Released on: May 29th, 2007
Source: Bought
4 stars: I Really Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon| Barnes & Noble

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-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It's all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own? -quoted from Goodreads

A modern day tale Austen fans will truly adore, Shannon Hale brings humor, romance and charm to this fabulous ode to Jane Austen. In true Shannon Hale form, she creates an adorable story that is fun, and engaging as she took me along on Jane Hayes's little adventure. Jane Hayes is a character many Jane Austen fans will relate to. She's obsessed with Mr. Darcy. I mean obsessed to the point she hides her BB Pride & Prejudice watching, book reading addiction from everyone. Which is all the more reason why I love her. Who can blame her for love that little movie that many fans adore played by a certain British heart throb named Colin Firth. Certainly not this Mundie Moms. But, there's a tiny problem with being that obsessed with Mr Darcy and I'm sure many of us book fans can relate to this.... Mr. Darcy is fictional, but to a thirty something, single year old women who's looking for that perfect Mr. Darcy, Jane can't seem to find "the right" guy, because her sites are set on the fictional Mr. Darcy.

When Jane's aunt passes away, she leaves behind a gift for Jane, a trip to London for an exclusive vacation at the Pembrook Park. Any Austen fan would LOVE this trip! This park takes their guests back in time to Austen's era. Sounds like one of those fabulous get away from it all trips doesn't it? I know I'd enjoy that, but once Jane is there, I started to really sympathize with her. Every moment of the day and night you have to act like you're apart of this time period. You act the part, dress the part and during the duration of your your stay, you are apart of this time period. There's even balls to attend to do. Sounds fabulous right? There's also strict rules like no talking to the servants, no modern day devices, women aren't allowed to be with a man alone unless they're outside and in motion, women aren't allowed to roam freely about after dark and so on. It's during this time that Jane's love for this era starts to make her feel like an outsider, someone who doesn't fit in.

Don't worry, Jane definitely finds herself in some rather hilarious circumstances and of course Hale provides the right amount of romance that kept me completely hooked on this fabulously written story. Word of caution, do not pick this book up thinking it's a re-telling of a classic, it's far from it. It's simply a wonderful story that all Austen fans will enjoy, and Hale gives us fans something to swoon over and connect with in Jane. I am really looking forward to the sequel, Midnight in Austenland that releases next year. If you've ever wandered what it would be like to live in Jane Austen's time period, than I highly recommend picking up this fabulous clean cut book. You might want to read it before the movie comes out!!

You can find out a little bit more about the movie by visiting Shannon's site here.


  1. Why haven't I read this yet?!?!? I love Shannon Hale and I may be slightly obsessed with Pride and Prejudice! Thanks for the review. It's the kick in the pants I needed to pick this one up!

  2. I thought the same thing after I finished it. I don't know why it sat on my shelf for so long. It's a really great, quick read.

  3. I loved this book! Great review. :)

  4. Thank you Andrea!! I really don't know why I waited so long to read it.

  5. One of my favorites perhaps becauae I understand the obsession so well. ;)

  6. I read this a couple of years back, and I loved it! One of my favorite things was the alluding to all the Austen characters! I kept trying to figure out ok, is he from Persuasion or Mansfield Park. It was great fun! I just got an ARC of Midnight in Austenland, and can't wait to tear into it! I probably need to go reread this first though!!!