How long has it been since I read a book like this? Ummmm...over a year. I'm not kidding. At all.
This year I made a goal to focus on fun books, which works out perfectly with a book club I joined. (I finally joined a book club!) Some of the other members of the club are students as well, so most of the books we're planning on reading are short, easy, and fun.
Austenland was the first pick. I was excited about it because I've been interested in Shannon Hale since I read Princess Academy as a teenager. But I also felt a little weird reading YA for the first time in a long time. I felt even weirder when I got totally hooked, blowing off studying and housework and other important things in order to read it. Of course, I finished it within a couple of days, after carrying it around with me and reading it in spare moments.
How about a summary for those who haven't read it?
Jane is a thirty-three-year-old graphic designer who is bored with dating. She has a secret Pride and Prejudice obsession (aka Colin-Firth-in-a-wet-shirt obsession) and has begun comparing all her boyfriends (and non-boyfriends) to Mr. Darcy. A distant relative dies and in her will, instead of leaving Jane money, she leaves Jane a vacation to Pembrook Park, a weird resort where you get to dress up and play Regency. Jane goes, with a determination to kick her Darcy obsession for good. (Yes, that amazing summary was written by yours truly.)
I liked the book a lot. It was loads of fun, which is exactly what I need in the middle of a tough school semester. It wasn't too dense. It was completely indulgent, especially for an Austen fan.
On the other hand, I was hoping for something more like Princess Academy, which I remember being more thought-provoking. (Of course, I might find it a little less interesting now--I don't remember it all that well.) I kept thinking some dramatic twist would happen that would turn the book into something less indulgent and more real. Well, that didn't happen. It was pretty predictable and felt like reading a romantic comedy. Truth is, while I like to watch rom coms, I'm not sure I like to read them. I was kind of disappointed.
I don't think it was as bad and unrealistic as some rom coms; I do think it had a somewhat meaningful message about true love. Much better than some YA books I've read.
I guess it's not so much that I didn't like the book, just that I felt a little strange reading something so fluffy. It was really fun though, and I'm glad I read it.