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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND by Shannon Hale

I would definitely call myself a Shannon Hale fan. BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS is probably my favorite of hers, and unlike so many, GOOSE GIRL (and the Bayern series) is actually lower on my list. I read AUSTENLAND a few years ago and burst out laughing on the dedication page. Good sign. So, when I heard a companion for AUSTENLAND was coming out, I was giddy. Just a few short weeks after it came out (or maybe it was months? I don't know; I often lose track of time ...) Shannon Hale's e-books all went on sale. I snatched up MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND with no qualms.

From Shannon Hale's official siteWhen 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?

Audience: Adult (but clean enough that anyone could read it)
Genre: Romance
Length: 277 pages

The Rating: ***** (LOVED it)

The Good: Well, of course, everything. It's witty, fantastic, clean romance with still enough spice to get your heart pumping and maybe a few swoons. I loved how the characters, their arcs, and the plot was so different from AUSTENLAND. I adored the hero. (That's I can say there ...) And it kept surprising me! Not many romance books do that for me. I can usually guess -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing -- the twists and turns that are coming up. Not with this book. There's so many great lines, like "For the first time, Mrs. Wattlebrook really smiled, and in such a way that Charlotte half expected the woman to extend her fist to knock knuckles."

The Bad: I'm pretty sure I should probably change this section to the "less good" part. I mentioned above that lost of unexpected things happened. Once or twice it through me off balance and sometimes the guessing made me feel unstable. Not necessarily a bad thing, but "not quite the thing."

Disclaimer: Mild kissing.

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  1. Why haven't I read Austenland yet? Dumb, dumb, dumb!!!

  2. Umm, so sorry, but I'm going to have to agree ... :D


About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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