Posted by: Ms. Matson | July 21, 2009


By Shannon Hale
New York: Bloomsbury, 2007
Genre: Fiction
Interest: Jane Austen fans, chick lit

Well then.  Austenland is a lovely read.  Fun, funny, romantic, and satisfying; perfect for any Austen aficionado, and any who long for their own Mr. Darcy.  I prefer this leaps and bounds over the other Austen-inspired novel I read a few years ago, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.  I was put off the the latter’s vulgarity and contempt of Regency society.  Hale does a good job of playing to Austen fans’ senses – the opening line of the novel, the Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy references, the obvious parallels between the plots of Austen’s novels and the events and conversations at Pembrook.  I kept thinking to myself, “This is just like a conversation between Lizzy and Darcy, or Anne and Wentworth.”

Overall, I really enjoyed this.  The writing flows well and captures the heart of Regency speak, though it is not spectacularly literary.  It’s a bit predictable, with a surprising twist toward the end.  I’d probably read it again, and will definitely recommend it to friends.

*sidenote:  The house featured on the hardcover is the same used in the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice for Rosings Park.  Yes, I just had to watch it again to confirm.  You know, because I hadn’t seen it enough.

That’s the end of the review, but I did have an observation on Pembrook.  At one point when Jane is musing on the fact that the people at Pembrook are actors seeking to please their clients, to become the men they seek, I couldn’t help but think of the manga Ouran.  My gosh but Pembrook is a glorified host club!  The men cater to the desires of the women, changing their characters as needed, and pretending to be enamored of them.  Ha!  If Ouran aimed at American or British audiences instead of Japanese there is no doubt Kyouya would have a done Regency theme.  They did do a samurai theme, after all.  Who would have thought a connection could be made between such disparate literary mediums (19th century British literature and Japanese comics)?



  1. As a Jane Austen lover, closet chick-lit reader, and fan of Shannon Hale’s PRINCESS ACADEMY and RAPUNZEL”S REVENGE, I’ll definitely have to check this out! Thanks!

  2. Closet chick-lit reader – great term. I guess I’m one, too! Hope you enjoy the book.

  3. […] K. (Lost in Austen)14. Carrie K. (Death Comes for the Archbishop)15. Framed (Silence is Golden)16. teachergirl (Austenland)17. Carrie (Do Hard Things)18. Lazygal (Anne Frank: the book, the life, the afterlife)19. Lazygal […]

  4. I really want to read this one!!

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