Thursday, July 4, 2013

"No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy, would have supposed her born to be an heroine."

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale: Charlotte Kinder is pretty sure she's forgotten how to relax and have fun. Being a divorced single mom with her own business, she doesn't have time for it.

But with the encouragement from friends and her children, she finally takes a vacation.  At Pembrook Park, she can finally live out her Jane Austen inspired fantasies but something isn't right.

Charlotte thinks something sinister is afoot and she cannot tell if it is real or all an act.  This was supposed to be just a mindless vacation in Austenland but now it's turning into a real life murder mystery.

I enjoyed this novel somewhat.  I know that sounds ominous but while it was an okay read, I found myself absolutely frustrated with this novel at times.  It was not the good kind of frustration either.

I loved the main character, Charlotte.  At first you're convinced that she's just imagining the mystery surrounding her visit at Pembrook Park but she turns out to be right all along.  I also liked how this adventure helped her become stronger and more confident in herself.  After her divorce, there was a lot of sadness and her insecurities reared their ugly heads so it was great to see her triumph over them.  

This novel even includes a nod to the first novel, Austenland, which I thought was nice.  There are some familiar faces and even a mention to characters that are no longer part of the story.  

What I did not appreciate in this novel was the fact that it was so slow.  It took a long time to work up to the actual mystery in Pembrook Park and even then it was overshadowed by the humor.  It completely killed any chance this book had at making the-thing-readers-didn't-know intriguing.  It just didn't hold my interest at all.

And the romance!  The romance was so...not something I saw coming.  It didn't feel romantic at all really. It was quiet and I actually thought they were going to end up good friends rather than in a relationship.  I've seen more love and tension in a classic than I did in this novel.

At the end of the book, I was perplexed as to what this book was supposed to be or what it was trying to accomplish.

Title source:
Austen, J. (2006).  Northanger Abbey. New York, NY:  Knopf Publishing.

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