Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 288
Received: Received from publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: January 31, 2012

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?

The follow-up to reader favorite Austenland provides the same perfectly plotted pleasures, with a feisty new heroine, plenty of fresh and frightening twists, and the possibility of a romance that might just go beyond the proper bounds of Austen's world. How could it not turn out right in the end?

My Review:

I found this a cute story, very similar to Austenland yet still very different. You do not need to read the first of the books, Austenland, to understand this book (which I enjoy, it is a part of a series and yet still can be standalone). What I really enjoyed about this story that made it different was that it had a lot more of a mystery aspect to it. This story was more focused on Austen's Northanger Abbey (which I have not yet read but plan to after this book). Whereas the first one was very focused on Pride and Prejudice. Some characters from Austenland do return which I find fun because it still gives me a sense that it  is the same place and there are a few subtle hints to the first book as well.

This book still had a lot of aspects of Austen's other books, specifically the romancing seen in all Austen's books (the reason that people seem to flock to Austenland). Shannon Hale writes a much different story with Midnight in Austenland, there is a lot more darkness to it and more mystery. I found there were a lot of twists and turns and it was fun because she added in two different mysteries to the story.

I enjoy the aspect of the book going back and forth from Charlotte's past and the present she experiences at Austenland. I found that this helped me understand her character more, and the reader can come to know why she acts the way she does throughout the book.

I kind of saw the end of the book coming but I still enjoyed it. It gives you a sense that everything has been wrapped up. And it also gives the idea that Austenland is kind of a nice therapy for people that go there, and in a way they change who they are after leaving Austenland.

If you are a fan of Jane Austen books, you will love Shannon Hale's Austenland series.


  1. This is on my library list to read and I'm looking forward to it. Great review. Thanks!

  2. I actually haven't read any of Jane Austen's books (believe me, I am ashamed), but this series sounds really cool! Once I finally get around to reading Austen's books I'll have to check this series out!

    Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

  3. I have an ARC of this sitting in my pile, so I'm happy to hear that I'll enjoy it as much as I did Austenland! I'm definitely looking forward to it.

  4. I loved Midnight in Austenland, too! Yay for Miss Charming coming back! I adore her :) I totally need to read Northanger Abbey now. The mystery was fun and I felt like I really got to know and understand Charlotte. I got to meet Shannon Hale on Saturday and she's just as funny and witty in real life as she is in her books.

    Jessica @ Books: A true story



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