Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Midnight In The Past

Published: January 31st, 2012
Midnight In Austenland
By: Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury USA
ISBN-13: 9781608196258

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?


   Charlotte is still reeling from a divorce that left her shocked and alone.  Then she decides to do something just for her - go on vacation at Austenland, a private and exclusive retreat for women who want to live an Austen-esque experience.....including the romance!  Leaving her children with her ex-husband for a few weeks, Charlotte makes her way to England ready to enjoy herself.  She is expecting a Pride and Prejudice experience but things turn out a lot more like Northanger Abbey, with mystery around every corner and a murder to solve (the killer could be one of her housemates).  Plus Charlotte finds love in a place she least expected it.  But will she live to see another day?  This book was pretty good.  It started out well and I did like Charlotte.  She was completely average like Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey, which was a tip off to the plot but made things fun.  It may have been harder for me to relate to her than the heroine of the original Austenland novel, because of our fairly large age gap.  Also, I felt like Hale seriously dragged out the murder AND romance plots.  At a certain point I began to really become bored and wish for a more speedy resolution.  I liked the romance, but it felt like the pop-star in disguise subplot was unneccessary and got in the way of the main story.  Overall it was a fun book, but I won't be revisiting it anytime soon if at all. 

VERDICT:  3/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published January 31st, 2012.*

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