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Book & Movie Review: Austenland by Shannon Hale

You’re getting a double does of Austenland. I hope you can handle all this Austen!

Book Review: Book & Movie Review: Austenland by Shannon Hale

I never seem to do things in the right order. I saw Austenland the movie, then after loving it so much, bought the book that evening. Below are my reviews for both the movie and the book.

Austenland Movie Review

austenland movie review

Werk that updo, Keri Russell!

Cute, Perky & Romantic

When I saw the trailer for Austenland, I knew I had to see it. I was aware it was based off of Shannon Hale’s book by the same name, but only knew it was about a woman who travels to a place where she could dress up like a Jane Austen character.

I went to see the movie with my good friend and fellow Austen-fan Caitlin, who had already read the book. We didn’t talk too much about it beforehand, so I went into the movie with a fresh perspective.

I absolutely adored the Austenland movie! After recovering from the shock of seeing Keri Russell a decade-aged from Felicity, I enjoyed how much fun and silly the movie was. And, let me tell you, it was VERY SILLY.

How can it not be with Legally Blonde star Jennifer Coolidge?! She always seems to play the same character, but I don’t care. She’s hilarious.

I LOVED the casting for Mr. Nobley and Martin. Especially Mr. Nobley. Although I hadn’t read the book at the time, I knew how a Mr. Darcy impersonator should be, and he was definitely it.

Austenland is definitely a feel-good type of movie, where you know the heroine won’t be let down. I loved laughing through most of the movie and swooning at all the right moments.

This is definitely a movie to rent, Netflix or buy. It’s just endearing and sweet – especially for any hardcore Austenites.

Austenland Book Review

Goodreads | Amazon | Shannon Hale’s Website

austenland by shannon hale book review

Title & Author: Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale

Genre: Adult Fiction – Contemporary

Release Date: May 29, 2007

Series: Austenland #1

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

How I Got the Book: Bought

Description:

“Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?”

More Depth Than the Movie

What surprised me the most about Austenland the book was the additional depth Hale included in the story. Although Jane is a hopeless Mr. Darcy-lover, she’s also sort of embarrassed by her obsession. Plus, Jane’s whole reason for going to Austenland is different than the movie.

In the book, Jane is visiting Austenland to finally rid herself of her unrealistic fantasies about finding a real Mr. Darcy. She’s trying to move past her relationship hang-ups and this is her final hurrah.

Plus, Hale includes some seriously hilarious anecdotes of all of Jane’s boyfriends, numbered 1-13. My favorite anecdote simply said, “Gay” and that was all! Ha, nuff’ said!

I loved the additional background information about Jane’s love life and how she came to be a 32-year-old woman with a very few romantic prospects. I related to book Jane more than the movie Jane.

Austenland was a very quick read. I had it done in two days with time to spare. It really didn’t need too much. That may sound weird, but I think the essence of the story was simple and didn’t need to many frills or side stories just to bulk up the page count.

The romance was just off the charts. Granted, that was a huge focus of the book, so it nearly filled every page, but I ate it up.

Movie vs. Book

It’s funny because I typically do the reverse – compare the movie to the book, but in this case I compared the book to the movie. It was the best of both worlds, actually.

I thought the movie was so fun and romantic (seriously, so much) that I had to have more.

Although there are definitely some book-to-movie discrepancies, there was nothing too big or different that would make me upset. The movie ending was definitely embellished, but whatever. They had fun with it. The biggest thing, like I said, was that the book offered more insight into Jane’s thoughts and feelings and past.

If you cannot stand cheesiness, than the movie might grate on your nerves a bit. The book didn’t go there at all, which I was grateful for.

OVERALL:

I just LOVED both the Austenland book and movie. They are great paired together or enjoyed separately. If you HAD to choose one over the other, I would say read the book. But, I’m biased toward books anyway. Austenland is a quick, light read filled with romance and laughs.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Andrea Buginsky

    I’ve never even heard of this! Thank you for introducing me to both the book and movie. They sound wonderful.

    I, too, love how much more depth the books have to offer, but the movie brings the story to life for me in so many ways. Some movies do disappoint me with how little they resemble the storyline, such as the first Percy Jackson movie. But, for the most part, I enjoy both versions.

    I also like Kerri Russel, and have seen her in other roles other than Felicity. I can definitely see her playing this character.

    Thanks again for bringing this book/movie to mind.

    • http://www.readbreatherelax.com Lisa@Read.Breathe.Relax.

      You’re welcome! They both are very good, and I hope you get a chance to watch/read one of them! :) The movie to film adaption can definitely be tricky. So many have failed miserably. It’s nice to see one do it well.

      • http://www.andreabuginsky.com/ Andrea Buginsky

        I found the book available at my local library, so I’ll be checking it out soon. Thanks again.

  • Christine Stitt

    Love your thoughts on the Austenland movie! I need to go see it! I’m so glad you described it as “fun and silly”. Definitely a plan for my next girls-night-in! :)

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