Author: Shannon Hale
Genre: Chick Lit
Synopsis: The story is about a young woman named Jane who is obsessed with all things Pride and Prejudice. One of her great-aunt, who recently died, gives her an all expenses paid trip to Austenland. It is a period hotel. They give you a persona, wardrobe. You are expected to abide by all of the rules of the Regency era. Jane’s persona is Miss Jane Erstwhile. She starts interacting with the people. As is in most Austen novels, there are a few single men. The one that captures Jane’s fancy is a Mr. Nobly. There is also a gardener named Martin. The other characters are Miss Charming, Amelia… Throughout the book, we see Jane trying to fit into her character. Also the reader gets a little bit of flashback into Jane’s dating life to see what went wrong in her past relationships. She has had many “boyfriends” over the years. I put the term in quotation marks because many people would not qualify her romantic interests as boyfriends.
Anyway, after a number of romantic disappointments, Jane turns to Pride and Prejudice. (You know where this is going right?) Like many women, she wants Mr. Darcy and expects the men she meets to live up to that expectation. As you know, these expectations cannot be met.
Jane feels that her great-aunt gave her the trip to help her get over her obsession with Mr. Darcy. I guess to a certain extent, she does; but she does meet her own Mr. Darcy. What I thought was funny was that as she stay in Austenland, the lines between life and fiction blurs. She believes that the characters are a certain way, but when her time ends she finds out that the other women are married. They just view this as a little vacation for the women. By the end, Jane feels that she has a new lease on life.
Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: This was an interesting book. It took me a long time to read it. Not because there was anything wrong with the writing, I had a lot going on the week that I read it. It was a fun read. Austenland seems like it would be a great place to vacation. I mean the guests were actually taught how to do the Regency dances. (Sign me up!!) I think the best part of a Regency vacation would be the complete lack of telephones. **sighs** The next book is called Midnight in Austenland. That review will be up shortly.
Author: Stephanie Burgis
In this conclusion to the Regency-era fantasy trilogy Kirkus Reviews calls “enjoyable mayhem,” Kat is tasked with saving her family, the Order of the Guardians, and England itself.
With just days to go before her sister Angeline’s long-delayed wedding to Frederick Carlyle, the impetuous Kat Stephenson has resigned herself to good behavior. But Kat’s initiation into the magical Order of the Guardians is fast approaching, and trouble seems to follow her everywhere.
First, Kat must contend with the wretched Mrs. Carlyle’s attempts to humiliate her sister; the arrival of the mysterious Marquise de Valmont, who bears suspicious resemblance to Kat’s late mother; and Frederick’s bewitching cousin Jane, who has Charles Stephenson tripping over his feet. But when a menacing boy with powerful magic starts hunting Kat, a dastardly villain tries to kill Angeline, and the Guardians face a magical robbery that could spell the end of their Order, propriety becomes the least of Kat’s concerns.
Can Kat save her sister’s life, the Order of the Guardians, and England itself before it’s too late?
Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: I’ve been waiting a positive age for this last book to come out. On one hand I am happy, but on the other hand I’m a little bit sad. I was hoping that this would be a long running series. It certainly has that potential. Then I saw that the author said this was the last book for now. I believe it was a business decision on the part of the publisher. I won’t post what I think of the publisher’s intelligence. Needless to say, it isn’t overly charitable.
The book was fast paced. There a few twists and turns in the plot. There was some interesting character development i.e. Charles. Boy did he clean up his act! Who knew he had the potential to be a protective older brother! I really enjoyed the fact that Elissa came to terms with her witch blood. And then Lady F- Kat’s “godmother,” will that woman never get her comeuppance? Though I suppose that Kat finally being initiated into the Order is quite a punishment. I am glad that Kat finally has a mother figure in her life that can keep up with her and then some. I always found her to be in particular need of motherly love.
I really did enjoy the book. I couldn’t put it down. I’m just really sad that this series is really starting to get going, but is now shut down due to a “business” decision. I just hope one day the author can come back and give us more Kat.
Wow this week’s reviews are rough. Kind of like the day I had. Ok! this book is supposed to be a sequel to Pride & Prejudice. Lizzie and Darcy have 7 children; the book only features the 5 daughters- Letitia, Camilla, Georgina, Isabelle, and Alethea. Letitia is a blend of Mary and Jane Bennet. Camilla is a carbon copy of Lizzie. Georgina and Isabelle are reincarnations of Kitty and Lydia, and Alethea is the female form of her father.
Darcy’s fortune has increased tremendously since Pride and Prejudice with the discovery of coal on his property. Each daughter has a fortune of 50,000 pounds. The daughters are sent to spend the London season with Col. Fitzwilliam while their parents are in Turkey.
The Darcy ladies go from one scandal to the next, the most infamous of which is when Letitia unknowingly become engaged to a “queer.” Georgina and Isabelle manage to get into more trouble than even Kitty or Lydia (though the extent of Georgina’s disgrace is never known outside the family). All ends well because the girls end up married well.
You know when you write an Austen sequel, you have a lot to live up to. Ms. Aston failed miserably. I was quite surprised. Jane Austen was such an apt reader of human character. Aston is definitely not. Most readers will remember that the Bennet girls turned out the way they did due to parental neglect. Lizzie was acutely conscious of this. Seeing how she and Jane regularly tried to curb the behavior of their sisters, one would have to imagine that she would be vigilant with her own children. I just don’t see Darcy or Lizzie being such negligent parents that they would raise two morally bankrupt daughters as Georgina and Isabelle.
If for some strange reason, you feel the need to read this book, please get it from the library. Don’t waste $14.95.