By: Shannon Hale
Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined. Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen; or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them.
Cute, cute, cute, cute, cute, annnnd cute. I almost never read contemporary (and I almost never like it) and this was pretty dang cute. This was just what I needed to get out of my Crown of Midnight book-hangover. I needed something light and sweet and this delivered.
I love Shannon Hale's writing. I've read some her fantasy stuff (The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, and Princess Academy) and loved it. I think this is her only non-fantasy series, but it was infused with some of the same whimsicality.
This is also my first bound into the vast world of Austen inspired fiction (not Jane Austen herself, but the stuff based off of and inspired by her books). I quite liked it.
I especially enjoyed the moments of humor because they were all genuinely funny. For example,
"And you, Mr. Nobley, are annoyingly stubborn. Together we must be Impertinence and Inflexibility."
Jane was an enjoyable and heart-felt narrator. She was a quirky kind of crazy, but it was sort of endearing. I loved Henry and his dynamic with Jane. They had the kind of banter I like between characters.
Overall this was a fun, light, and engaging read and was just what I needed to get me out of my slight reading slump.
"She felt really alone now. But here's the thing-suddenly, she felt as though she belonged inside the aloneness..."
"With her father's estate entailed away, marriage was not a convenience for Elizabeth--it was life and death. And even so, she managed to laugh and spin and wait to fall really in love."
"Why was the judgment of the disapproving so valuable? Who said that their good opinions tended to be any more rational than those of generally pleasant people?"
"Now she could feel his gaze on her face and longed to crack the silence like the spine of a book, but she had nothing to say anymore. She'd lost all her thoughts in paint and rain."