Series: Austenland #1
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on July 2, 2013
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Romance
Length: 6 hours 23 minutes
I am addicted to Pride and Prejudice. I read it every April and I can quote from it easily. You don’t want to ask what I’d be willing to give up for Mr. Darcy. Sorry Lizzy, but I’d happily steal him from you in a heartbeat. So when my friend Trish told me I had to read Austenland, I didn’t take much convincing.
Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man-perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Predjudice. When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, however, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?
I like to think I’m not AS ridiculous as the main character, Jane. She’s ruined pretty much every relationship she’s had because of her obsession with Mr. Darcy. And it’s like she never grew out of the middle school stage where just holding hands made you a couple. That being said, I loved her because I really understood her and her obsession with Pride and Prejudice.
But, unlike me, she didn’t jump at the opportunity to head to Austenland (because, yes – I WOULD SO GO!) The trip is bequeathed to her in a will – and she decides to make it her last Austen hurrah! She’s going to get it out of her system so that she can come home and have a healthy relationship.
I just loved every moment Jane spends in Austenland. It was a bit ridiculous – you’ve got this strict adherence to regency era talk, dress, manners, etc. alongside indoor plumbing and electric lights (not that this is something to complain about). This conflict, combined with the guests – with the exception of Jane, they are very rich women behaving with varying degrees and types of ridiculousness- and the actors, men to woo the women, made for plenty of laughs.
Laughing aside, though, I had a blast with the concept of an attempt to immerse yourself in this world. And the romance was great, mainly because you never knew what to believe. Is it just part of the act or is it real? At times you think, it has to be real, but then you wonder if it’s just hopeful thinking on your part. I had quite a few surprises in this area and if you read it, I hope you do too.
I enjoyed Austenland so much that as soon as I finished I went onto Amazon Prime and bought the movie. I watched it minutes after reading the book and I have to say I was really disappointed. They changed several things I had really liked in the book, showed points of view that the book didn’t (ruining some twists), and overplayed the ridiculous. So, in my opinion, skip the movie and read the book – especially if you’re a Jane Austen fan.