Friday, April 6, 2012

Midnight In Austenland by Shannon Hale

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

“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?” (summary from amazon)

I think that I liked Midnight in Austenland more than Hale’s first novel in this series Austenland. I felt like the plot was much more interesting than the first book, and the main character Charlotte seemed more real and grounded in this novel for me.  I guess I just related to Charlotte’s story better. I really liked how the romance plot in this story was balanced out by the subplot of a murder mystery. This modern day mystery takes inspiration from old gothic romances, and I always thought that Northanger Abbey was the funnest book I read of Jane Austen’s.

So, yeah, this cute romance with a little dash of mystery and a little dash of creepy old ghost stories delighted me. I read it in only a few days whenever I needed a break and I found it refreshing, just as Charlotte did, to focus on something other than daily life.  The book is pretty clean, but has a few awkward adult humor moments that would make me not recommend it for young teens.
Visit Shannon Hale's website to learn more about the book