Midnight in Austenland
by Shannon Hale
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Bloomsbury USA
(first published Jan 6th 2012)
NetGalley book for Review
Premise: Ganked from Goodreads:
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...
My Review (spoiler-free):
This book was a complete delight to read. The writing is so smooth and fast-paced. The characters were believable. The troubles were real and varied. The romance was fun. The mystery was fun!
I was never concerned for anyone’s life, necessarily. (Not sure if that’s important to note or not). There was a scene that I felt I OUGHT to be very concerned for someone’s life, and yet, nope. Largely because the writing was humorous even then. (Every "then".)
Charlotte carried on conversations with her inner self that were hilarious even at the most frightful moments. To add to the enjoyment, her Inner Self was a different character than her Self-Self, the two disagreed and argued. I think that aspect is a unique treasure that I haven't run into in other books. How often (in reality) is my inner voice ultra-sarcastic and critical of me, you know? Well, you don’t know, but it is and it seemed as if Shannon Hale knew! Yikes!
The main character, Charlotte Kinder, is older-ish and divorced (with kids) and dealing with the unfaithfulness of her husband, which labels this book as “adult”. But I think Young Adults would enjoy this book just as much even if there are moments that make them wonder if their mothers ever thought of them like that. (Yes!) Most of the book is centered around the situation and mystery at the Jane Austen resort setting, including the beautiful dresses and dances and card games and food… everything fun and memorable about Jane Austen’s world. There is tension between what is real and what is pretend with hired actors.
As I read, I highlighted... in my e-reader (no, not in a hard copy – are you kidding?!) so, while I was reading, I quoted phrases… I hope you caught some? This book is delightfully quotable without giving away spoilers. :-D For example, a mini side theme was the house itself, how it felt alive and friendly or not as Charlotte reacted to other things going on. And always there were the Settees, which she enjoyed noticing, having never said "Settee" before. She commented on them frequently, "adjourning to the room with the abundant Settees", etc, etc. Hilarious. When I least expected it, those Settees would be there again, and I snorted every time.
Speaking of laughing, I thoroughly enjoyed trying to be quiet. If you can, read at night – through the night, if possible - and try to keep quiet and not laugh out loud and you, too, might be in (quiet) hysterics frequently. (Yea! It could happen!!)
This book is full of Jane Austen connections, especially with Northanger Abby, so no doubt I missed some depth I might have gotten otherwise (not having read that work of art.) Any thoughts, anyone? Have you read Northanger Abby?
Midnight in Austenland is definitely complicated, multi-layered and light fun all at the same time. I recommend it for everyone.
May I take a moment to rave about Shannon Hale's books in general?!
Two of her books have become 5.5's for me, I've reread them at least twice and if I think about either of 'em too long, I'll have to read them again... which is incredible.
One of 'em is The Goose Girl... because I love-LOVE the concept of communicating and directing the wind. Oh, man!! I love the arranged marriage gone wrong, I love the surviving in a foreign culture and I LOVE the way Ani never takes "no" for an answer. When all odds are against her, she rolls up her sleeves and makes a way. And there's LOVE!!! :-) Gotta love LOVE. Not the insta-variety, but the grows-into-it kind and I was sweatin' it out (the first time I read it) 'cause Ani's a princess and there's war-sized reasons she can't just fall in love with anybody!
The other is Book of a Thousand Days. I have this dreamy relationship with journaling - I think it's romantic and soul-baring and this is a journal that is pulled off deliciously. Dashti is such a unique character. She is well-meaning, but as dirt-poor as could be, as low on the social ladder as possible. When she gets bricked up in a tower with a sniveling princess, all she can think about is the abundant food stores in the cellar. Her resonant character takes her places she never dreamed she could go... and the romance is so sweet, so forbidden and so perfect.
About the Author:
Shannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling author of six young adult novels: the Newbery Honor book Princess Academy, multiple award winner Book of a Thousand Days, and the highly acclaimed Books of Bayern series. She has written three books for adults, including the upcoming Midnight in Austenland (Jan. 2012), companion book to Austenland. She co-wrote the hit graphic novel Rapunzel's Revenge and its sequel Calamity Jack with husband Dean Hale. They live near Salt Lake City, Utah with their four small children, and their pet, a small, plastic pig.
See all of Shannon Hale's books HERE.
Find & Follow:
Find & Follow:
Join us at Figment.com on Monday, February 13 at 8 p.m. ET, as Shannon Hale (Midnight in Austenland), Elizabeth Eulberg (Prom and Prejudice), and E. Lockhart (The Boyfriend List) chat live about one of their shared loves: the incredible, inimitable Jane Austen. They’ll also be answering questions about reading, writing, publishing, and everything in between, so tune in!
Review of Midnight in Austenland posted at booktalk more on 2/7/12.
Get yer own copy!!!
Barnes & Noble
Kindle version of The Goose Girl for only $2.24!!! ($2.99 for Nook) And Austenland is only $2.99!!!! :-)
WIN AN E-COPY!!
Yeppers... I am going to Give Away any one of Shannon Hale's Midnight in Austenland in e-version from your choice of carrier (Kindle, Nook, i-whatever, etc.) I have a second prize, too... a hard cover of Forest Born, not new, but not broken in, either. I can send this book to Hungary or Brazil, no problem, so I'm opening it up to International Entries with a tentative panic note that if shipping exceeds $10, we'll have to negotiate yer winnings, 'cause I've got the book here in my hot lil' fingers.
Rin is sure that something is wrong with her…something really bad. Something that is keeping her from feeling at home in the Forest homestead where she’s lived all her life. Something that is keeping her from trusting herself with anyone at all...
Enter to Win:
* e-book of Midnight in Austenland or
* Forest Born hardcover
To enter, fill out the handy-dandy Rafflecopter Thingame.
There's a NEW way to Follow... especially designed for non-Blogger bloggers, unlike Google's GFC which is going to dump non-Blogger bloggers next month. It's super-easy to sign on and keep track of all the blogs you follow. I've added Linky Followers to my sidebar and also below the Rafflecopter form. If you wanna give it a go - and follow Colorimetry in yet another awesome way (HEY, THANKS!!) - you can get another entry in the Giveaway. The only requirement, though, is choosing a book to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Isn't this cool? I'm following myself... had to check it out, you know: