I listened to Austenland on audio on a long drive alone. It was absolutely perfect for the occasion. Austenland is the story of Jane Hayes, a single New Yorker, graphic designer and Jane Austen (especially the Colin Firth BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice) devotee. When her quirky aunt passes away, Jane learns she was left a peculiar thing in the will: a two-week holiday trip to an English estate where she will live in Austen's time. It's essentially an elaborate Jane Austen role-playing theme park, complete with period costumes, customs and lack of technology. The men are played by actors, and our heroine, despite acknowledging Darcy has ruined her real relationships by being too good, has a tough time letting go of her modern persona and relaxing.
Austenland is pure, brilliant fantasy and utterly dreamlike for Austen fans, but the comedy keeps the story from slipping into schmaltzy. Even those who feel dear Jane is teetering on overexposure would enjoy the satire. It's a quick, delightful tale, and Katherine Kellgren's reading was marvelous. Her voices were delightful and helped bring out the personalities of characters.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Pages: 197 (6.5 listening hours)
Source: my local public library
Publication date: May 31, 2007