Chatty Cathys, Young Adult

Book Talk – Austenland

One of my blogging goals this year is to actually start talking about books rather than just review them. And while my reviews are more casual and I do just let it all out sometimes, there are those times when I don’t really want to “formally” review a book for whatever reason – wasn’t really feeling it, it’s an older book, it doesn’t really fit into the “type” of book I review on here – but I still want to talk about it with you all! Typically whenever this situation has come up in the past I’ve just text or tweeted folks about it, but I figured a lot of you had read some of these books I want to discuss and would want to chat too!

Today I want to talk about:

austenlandI have sooo many friends who have read these books and they LOVED Austenland. I lucked out and found an ARC of it at my library’s used book store (seriously one of my cooler finds there). I decided to buy it because a) everyone loved it and b) the movie was coming out. And it sat on my shelf.

I finally read it last week during Bout of Books (which I failed epically) and oh man, I REALLY loved it! Granted, it made me feel all the feels which turned out to be not so good because I started crying, but otherwise it was a light, refreshing and fun read.

Here’s why it made me cry: I totally felt like Jane. Bad relationship after bad relationship, a confident well-adjusted woman (for the most part) who just wants a Mr. Darcy and is that too much to ask? I think this book, while a light read, made me look at my own love life. Granted it’s not quite as disastrous as Jane’s was, but I felt like I understood her pain and her desire for a romance straight out of an Austen book. Damnit, is it too much to ask to for Colin Firth coming out of the lake in a white shirt?

Moving on.

The one thing that really made me fall in love with this book was the characters. They were so perfectly written for the setting – quirky, a little off-beat, obsessive; I could seriously imagine that these would be the types of people who would run, work for and go to a Jane Austen themed.. er… theme park? Destination? I don’t know. My favorite character had to have been Miss Elizabeth Charming. At first I wasn’t a fan because I kept picturing this old dumpy woman and it just didn’t fit. But then I realized Jennifer Coolidge played her in the movie and it was like she suddenly clicked for me. She was so hilarious and the perfect comedic relief, but I think she also had a much deeper side that we got to see shine at serious moments – I love these types of characters!

The only thing that bothered me about this book series is how easily the visitors seem to fall into place in Austenland. I kept imagining how I would be if I went on this vacation. I would have been awkward, clumsy and terrified of the Austen love interest who was hired to woo me. I know this book was supposed to be kind of fantastical and probably not the MOST realistic, but since it was written so realistically I couldn’t help but think this way.

Austenland was such a fun book to read that I hated to put it down. It was filled with ups and downs, laughter, romantic suspense… honestly one of the better fun romances I’ve read in a really long time. I will definitely be reading it again!

Have you read Austenland? What are your thoughts on it? Let’s chat!

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13 thoughts on “Book Talk – Austenland”

  1. This book is actually on my must read list for 2014! I really wanted to see the movie when it came out but it was on limited release here in Scotland so I missed it. I’m really looking forward to reading the book!

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    1. Same! I think it was on limited release everywhere, which stinks! I definitely think you should read this one; it was really cute, as was the follow up novel Midnight in Austenland!

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  2. I haven’t read Austenland, and I hate that! I’ve been meaning to read it for YEARS! Probably close to 5 years now. I LOVE Shannon Hale’s books, and I’m a total Jane Austen fan, so I don’t know why I’ve been dragging my feet.

    I’m so glad you liked this book, Candice. And I think I would really identify with Jane, too. Just wanting my Mr. Darcy in a wet shirt (who happens to look like Colin Firth!). I must move this up my list. I do have an ebook that I purchased months and months ago when it was a daily deal. I have no excuse NOT to read it.

    Have you seen the movie? I haven’t yet. It wasn’t at a theater near me, and I’m not sure when it comes out on DVD.

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    1. You really do need to read this one. I think you’d enjoy it a lot, especially with your love of P&P! Get to it!

      I haven’t seen the movie – it wasn’t shown around here! I think it’s supposed to come out on DVD sometime soon, which I’m excited about!

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    2. You really do need to read this one. I think you’d enjoy it a lot, especially with your love of P&P! Get to it!

      I haven’t seen the movie – it wasn’t shown around here! I think it’s supposed to come out on DVD sometime soon, which I’m excited about!

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  3. I’ve read both this one and the sequel (Midnight in Austenland) and I always felt like at first we’d be clumsy, but the immersion experience, not to mention Jane’s lifelong love of Pride and Prejudice would lead to a fairly easy transition. However, if that was your main issue, you’ll definitely enjoy Midnight in Austenland.
    The movie is being released in the US on February 11, so it’s not too far away!
    (also here’s the link to the movie… http://www.putlocker.com/file/38C396E6E8D58EDF#)

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    1. Maybe if you did stuff for weeks it might get easier. I just don’t know if I could pretend for that long! I actually did read Midnight in Austenland – I had a copy of it and had to dive right in after Austenland! Thanks for the update on the movie; I’m really excited to see it.

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  4. I was googling “character arc Austenland” when I came across your lovely blog. I’ve been making a study of the film. I haven’t read the book but I downloaded the movie in iTunes and watched it 10 times in as many days. I LOVE it. However the film critics HATED it. And even as I was watching it for the first time I knew it wasn’t objectively speaking a quality film. So I’m a little troubled as to why I love it so much. I guess I just like entertainment for the sake of entertainment and any deeper meaning just doesn’t matter so much to me. As much as I like obvious humour I found the romance element creepy. Fine to have paid actors roleplaying but the fact Mrs Wattlesbrook intentionally pairs them off I think is a step too far past credibility. So I’m genuinely wondering about Jane’s motivation for going to Austenland. Does she genuinely believe she’ll find her Mr Darcy? Is she running away from her sad life? Is she slightly mentally unstable? All of the above? Or am I trying too hard to assign meaning to a book/movie whose pure purpose is entertainment?

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