February 4, 2010

Austenland by Shannon Hale: Review

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Continuing with my Valentine theme for the week, Kelly and I buddy-read Austenland by Shannon Hale.

In Austenland, Jane Hayes is bequeathed a special gift from her great-aunt, a trip to an exclusive Austen themed resort. Jane finally gets to live out her Austen inspired fantasies but is she up for it?

To read the first part of our discussion, visit The Written World:
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Kelly: Yeah, I think Hale was trying to make the ending romantic, but I thought it was a bit overdone... It was also supposed to prove a point to Jane, but that didn't interest me. What do you think of characters in novels, like Jane, that are always talking about 'giving up on love'? Also, what did you think of how Jane numbered every guy she had dated as a boyfriend? Did you like that Shannon Hale included info about each of them at the beginning of chapters?

Chris: I did like the info on the guys. It showed how all those disappointments at the beginning of her life affected her relationships later on. I felt for her when the guys were such jerks to her but later she had unrealistic expectations. No one can be a Mr Darcy, there are more Trailer Park Boys than Mr Darcys around here! It kind of reminds me of those girls crying over Rob Pattinson. He's just a a guy who plays a romantic character. He's just a person. Jane herself is rather intense. Not every guy is "the one" maybe just "the one for now." As for characters who 'give up on love,' you know as soon as they say that a guy conveniently falls in their lap.

Are you much of a romance reader? Would you recommend it to someone who isn't?

Kelly: Nope. I am not much of a romance reader at all. If there is romance in a book I am reading, that's fine, but it is rare to find me in the romance or chick-lit department of my bookstore. The only reason I gave this book a chance was because of the author. I liked it, though. It wasn't the greatest thing ever and I probably will never read it again, but it was a nice, quick, fun read for the time that I read it during. I was also worried because I am getting so sick of Jane Austen fan fiction. That is one of the reasons that I didn't rush out and read this book when it was released, but it was done well. I am still sick of Jane Austen fan fiction. I wish they would move on to something else, or heaven forbid, write an original novel for a while! Not to say that there are not good ones...

That makes me wonder, what do you think of the Jane Austen fandom? I know it has existed for years, but it is really popular the last couple years. If you could put yourself into Jane Austen's shoes, what do you think she would think about all of this?

Chris: What Would Jane Think? ha! I don't know. I think she'd have a snarky reply to all the fan fiction writers. She always had a cynical look at society and this is a rather peculiar facet of ours. I don't read a lot of Jane Austen fan fiction. I ordered this one from Bookcloseouts with several other books just because I had seen good reviews on blogs. It is becoming overdone but I guess there is a market for it. I think Austen fascinates people, not just because of her writing talent, but because of her life. She never married though she might have had a few romances and died young. Her sister burned a number of her letters after her death so people like to imagine all kinds of things about her. Too bad she never got to cash in on it.

Kelly: I know. She is so famous now, but that wasn't the case when she was alive. I do admit I am curious about those mystery letters, too! It's a shame we will never know what they contained because if they are worth burning, they are probably pretty interesting... This was a fun review!
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Thanks Kelly for reading Austenland with me!

BookBlips: vote it up!

11 comments :

  1. Shock: you've not read Shannon Hale before?? Shame. Glad you liked this one, though. (Read Goose Girl now.)

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  2. I bought this not long ago and didn't realize it's a romance. Now I'm not sure it's for me.

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  3. I love our buddy reviews. Sorry I was a bit disorganized with this one!

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  5. I really enjoyed Austenland. I purchased it right before a road trip and was enjoyed boy the easy read and the fun twist. I will definitely be looking for more of Shannon Hale.

    Perhaps Goose Girl is next. Thanks Melissa.

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  6. Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

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  7. Melissa- I'll have to check that out.

    Kathy- It has some romance but it's mostly chick lit.

    Kelly- That's okay, I had stuff going on here too.

    Emma- It was enjoyable.

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  8. I admit while I'd love to read JAne Austen, these spinoffs just don't appeal to me. Maybe someday I'll be in a fluffy mood. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    (I too have never read Shannon Hale!)

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  9. I enjoyed reading your review and the interview. It was good to relive Austenland. It's not my favorite Shannon Hale book but it was still fun.

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  10. I thought this book was fun and cute, but forgettable. Interesting review/discussion!

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  11. I love Shannon Hale and agree with Melissa - you really should read The Goose Girl or The Book of a Thousand Days next - they are both great reads!

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