My Review: Charlotte is a divorcee who struggles with the emotional betrayal of her husband, and the tug of war that has occurred with her children. She is financially sound with her web business, but she can’t seem to feel anything but numb emotionally, even a year after the divorce. With her ex-husband getting married, Charolotte decides that she is overdue for a vacation. After immersing herself in Jane Austen’s novels, the emotional heroines have her considering all things ‘Austen.’ So part of her vacation includes a 2-week trip to Austenland. There she finds that make-believe is tougher than she expected and perhaps the change in her reality isn’t as difficult as she thought if she can let herself feel again. While Charlotte is tottering on the emotional fence of fantasy and reality, mystery abounds as well as murder. But which part of the Austenland experience is fantasy and which is real, and who can Charlotte trust? I enjoyed this novel with it’s gothic atmosphere and intrigue, based loosely on Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Strange characters abound and the amusing Ms. Charming returns to lighten the mood. There are moments of brief crude humor, light action/violence (there is a murder afterall) and some sensuality, but generally a clean, enjoyable, read.
When 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?
The follow-up to reader favorite Austenland provides the same perfectly plotted pleasures, with a feisty new heroine, plenty of fresh and frightening twists, and the possibility of a romance that might just go beyond the proper bounds of Austen’s world. How could it not turn out right in the end?