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Literary Friday: Austenland

Friday, September 6, 2013

This week I read Austenland by Shannon Hale.  I don't read a whole lot of Chick Lit, but I'm so happy I read this one.  Beth @ Living a Goddess Life highly recommended it, and you can read here review here.  Based on Beth's review, I knew that this was going to be a very fun story, and it was!

Jane Hayes is unlucky in love in spite of having a fantastic career as a corporate graphic designer and great hair.  She does tend to live in a fantasy world populated by Austen heroes, with Fitzwilliam Darcy as the leading man in most of her fantasies.  She is obsessed with Colin Firth's performance in the BBC series Pride and Prejudice which is completely unfair to all men she dates because who in the world could possibly live up to *that*???

Jane's great aunt discovers her little secret Jane Austen obsession (a DVD hidden in a house plant) and leaves Jane a lavish holiday trip to Pembrook Park, Kent, England to immerse herself in Austen's world:  an all-inclusive three-week visit to Regency England.  Jane has the opportunity to visit the year 1816 complete with costumes, strict manners, and a ball.  The package is nonrefundable, so Jane decides to take her three weeks' vacation time and go.

Some of the role play scenes seemed awkward to me, and I cringed while reading some of them.  But I loved how each chapter begins with a brief synopsis of Jane's ex boyfriends numbered from one to thirteen.  I agree with Jane's friend, Molly:  A girl should never refer to a date as a boyfriend because it isn't normal and it's extreme to place expectations on new relationships.  However,  they were so entertaining to read!  I also loved how many of the plot points mirrored those in Austen novels with even a few Brontë sisters' characters and scenes thrown in for fun.

Still, in the midst of all the fun, Jane decides to abandon her fantasies in England to leave herself open for real possibilities.  "There was no Mr. Darcy, there was no perfect man.  But there might be someone.  And she'd be ready."

If you love Chick Lit (very well-written Chick Lit), all things Austen and Regency, and witty dialogue, then you will enjoy Austenland.

Shannon Hale helped co-write the screenplay with the screenwriter for Napoleon Dynamite Jerusha Hess.  Hess also directed, and the movie's production company is Stephenie Meyer's Fickle Fish Films. It will be released today in a limited nation-wide release, but it hasn't been released here in Birmingham yet.  Boo!

Here is Austenland's official trailer:

Let me know if you've seen it as it's been out in a few major cities for a couple of weeks.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. Yay! I'm glad you liked it. :D
    I haven't seen the movie yet...I think I'll save it for a rental, as I usually do. But I think Jennifer Coolridge is brilliantly cast ("cheerio!") and it looks like a fun romp.

  2. Oh that looks really cute! I would love for it to come here and go see it. Sounds like a cute book also so I am going to put it on my wish list, I could use something light and enjoyable. Great review.


  3. I've been wanting to SEE Austenland and I almost did last week. It looks adorable!

  4. ooooh, might have to try that one!

  5. I just finished the book and totally enjoyed it. The whole time I was reading, I kept thinking that I had read something very similar (I am a bit of a P&P sequel fanatic) and the whole flirting with Martin was totally familiar. I was relieved at the end when I read the book group questions and then about the author. It turns out that the novel was originally a short story which I had read.

    I know my husband won't see it so I may have to go on my own.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


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