Cheeky irreverence…. For all her breezily amused tone, Hale treats Jane and her fellow park "clients" with affection, and she shows that the Janes of today are as likely as the Darcys to shy from commitment.
Los Angeles Times
An homage to Austen and Fielding….Austenland offers hope that after years of fruitless searching for a companion, just when you're ready to give up on love, it will find you all on its own.
he Austen-themed resort called Pembrook Park exists so far only in Austenland, a just-published chick-lit novel by Shannon Hale, whose author's note describes her as "an avid Austen fan and admirer of men in britches." Hale's heroine is a "Sex and the City" career gal who can't keep a boyfriend and who has a crush on Mr. Darcy. Oh, not the "real" one—the one played by Colin Firth in the BBC Pride and Prejudice.
Jane [Hayes] is forced to confront her Austen obsession when her wealthy great-aunt Carolyn dies and leaves her an all-expenses-paid vacation to Pembrook Park, a British resort where guests live like the characters in Jane's beloved Austen novels.... Nods to Austen are abundant in contemporary women's fiction, and an intriguing setup and abundant wit are not enough to make this one stand out.
In her first novel for adults, Newbery Honor Medalist Hale (Princess Academy) puts an intriguing twist on Austenmania by writing about a Jane Austen fantasy camp tailor.... The hijinks that follow are entertaining if predictable. An amusing trifle likely to please chick-lit readers and Austen aficionados who enjoy modern twists on the author's classic tales. —Nanette Donohue
Jane, called Miss Erstwhile for the duration of her stay, tries to get used to corsets and other Regency amusements while sorting out whether the attentions of a Darcyesque Mr. Nobley, not to mention a good-looking gardener, are sincere or part of the show. A clever confection for fans of contemporary Austen knockoffs. —Mary Ellen Quinn
The novel is clever in its depiction of the many ways in which romance can fall away, and Jane is no fool as she attempts to sort out the real from the make-believe.... But ultimately this is a romance novel in which lovers who are meant to be together overcome miscues and misunderstandings before the final clinch. Mindless froth that Austen addicts will love.
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