Author: Shannon Hale
Genre: Fiction; Mystery; Romance
Published: January 31, 2012 – Bloomsbury USA
About: (from Goodreads synopsis) When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests’ Austen fantasies.
Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn’t sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside’s mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte’s heart be a sign of real-life love?
My take: Even though Charlotte is a self-made success story in the business world she’s kind of a doormat in her personal life. She’s relegated herself to a corner and just wants to be nice (and unnoticed). When she signs on for a two-week stay at Austenland she gives herself a second chance at becoming her own person.
I liked how Charlotte came into her own at Austenland as she played the part of a young, strong-minded widow in the drama and mystery that unfolded throughout the two weeks. People listened to what she had to say – something she hadn’t experienced for a while. Shannon Hale revealed Charlotte’s real life story through back flashes between the present day chapters. That really worked for me as I grew to understand how she got to her current place in life. I really liked her and found the Austenland characters enjoyable – especially when things didn’t go as scripted! Hale’s novel is at times poignant, mysterious and funny. I love a book that makes me laugh.
All in all, I really enjoyed the second novel in the Austenland series. Need to escape your day-to-day life? This could be the book for you! I also recommend the first book: Austenland.
Source: Bloomsbury USA via NetGalley
Disclaimer: See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.