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Guest Post – Book Review: Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

My dear friend Christine read the companion book to Austenland, Midnight in Austenland. She had some strong feelings about the book and wanted to share them with you.

Enjoy her spunky self 😀

Guest Post – Book Review: Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Christine’s up:

With the theater release of the film, Austenland, I was excited to read the book before going to see the movie. Turns out, everyone else had the same idea. Austenland was checked out of the library, and multiple holds had been put on it. So, what’s a girl to do? Grab the next book Shannon Hale wrote, Midnight in Austenland!

Guest Post – Book Review: Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

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Midnight in Austenland shannon hale

Title & Author: Midnight in Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale

Genre: Young Adult Fiction – Fantasy, Magic

Release Date: January 31, 2012

Series: Austenland #2

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

How Christine Got the Book: Bought

Description:

“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?”

“Mystery” in Austenland

This book was definitely a page turner! With multiple mystery plots, on multiple levels, I wish Ms. Hale would have titled this one “Mystery” in Austenland- it definitely had the suspense! Often times, it was hard to distinguish between the different mystery stories within the novel. I did not realize when I checked this book out, how dark, deep, or complex the “mystery” part of this tale would be.

Despite the complex plot, I enjoyed the novel’s heroine, Charlotte. Ms. Hale introduces her as the “nice” girl; that there is no better adjective to describe Charlotte than nice. She seems good natured, but sometimes bad things just happened to her. I know I’ve been there before! Fortunately for Charlotte, her romance that unfolds at Pembrook Park (Ms. Hale keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat for that reveal!) is a sweet one.

Characters a Bit Lacking

While I did have some strong “likes” about Midnight in Austenland, I felt that there were a few things I was still left wanting. I really was wishing for more background on the characters and more character development (maybe increase the pages of the book to closer like a 400-page book?). Some characters were strongly developed, other characters Ms. Hale did not give much of a story on (specifically the owners of Pembrook Park, and even the starlet guest, Miss Gardenside).

Another shocker was that our main heroine, Charlotte, does not seem as into “Austenland” and the Austen time period, as I would have imagined. I could have easily seen this story fit in at a rehab center in modern-day California. (hey- Charlotte does go a little off the deep-end after her divorce, and one of the other guests includes a famous singer-turned addict! C’mon..people!) Maybe the truly obsessed Austen-lover was Jane of the previous book, Austenland.

OVERALL:
A quick page-turner if you love getting caught-up in mysteries. Not as big of an “Austen” story as I had expected, but an overall Midnight in Austenland is a great novel about a woman developing into stronger version of herself and finding love amidst it all.

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

    Thank you for the review, Christine. I’m interested in checking out “Austenland,” and I may just have to add this book to my TBR list too.

    • Christine Stitt

      You are so welcome! Hope you enjoy them both! :)