I was just going to post a few quotes from Austenland and move on, but then I realized that just thinking about the book made me want to chatter, chatter, chatter about how much fun it is to read. That's what you're stuck with when you visit a blog with "babble" in the header.
I loved Austenland by Shannon Hale and I hate to part with it, but my copy is not mine. It's a library check-out. I shall wave my handkerchief and weep crocodile tears. Not really, but I'd have loved to hang onto it for a reread.
Austenland tells the tale of Jane Hayes, a single woman who has a secret: she's addicted to the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the one starring Colin Firth. Her great-aunt roots out Jane's secret and when she dies, she leaves Jane a pre-paid vacation at a resort where Jane Austen's Regency lifestyle is brought to life.
It's all a silly game; Jane knows that. And, yet she decides to take the vacation in order to attempt to purge herself of that perfect Mr. Darcy of her dreams.
Here is my excuse to post that wet Colin Firth photo, which I keep in my files:
It's easy enough to understand the addiction, isn't it?
Stop it, she told herself.
And then she thought about Mr. Nobley last night, his odd outburst, his insistence on dancing with her, and then his abrupt withdrawal after one dance. He truly was exasperating. But, she considered, he irritated in a very useful way. The dream of Mr. Darcy was tangling in the unpleasant reality of Mr. Nobley. As she gave herself pause to breathe in that idea, the truth felt as obliterating as her no Santa Claus discovery at age eight. There is no Mr. Darcy. Or more likely, Mr. Darcy would actually be a boring, pompous pinhead.
Austenlandis funny, romantic, sometimes all too realistic (poor Jane, renamed "Miss Erstwhile", falls at the bottom of the social ladder and must walk at the back of the line to the dining room). I don't know what else to say. I loved it. It's entertaining without being trite or cheesy. Shannon Hale has a great voice. Last year I gobbled up Princess Academy and this year I'm hoping to get around to reading The Goose Girl and Enna Burning. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll find other Hale stories captivating.
And, now I must return the book to the library, mail some other books and go for my walk in the park. Great, heaving sobs. I'm not usually so sad to hand over those library books.