Friday Favorites #14: Midnight in Austenland

Friday Favorites is a weekly meme hosted here, that spotlights a favorite author, book, series, publisher, cover, blog, etc. Basically whatever bookish thing that you love, recommend, and want to tell others about. Just pick one and link up to my post each Friday to share. You can use the graphic I used above, the other one here, or your own.

I read Austenland some time ago. It was during the time my husband was in law school and worked full-time and I basically was a single mother. I really needed some extra romance at that point and so I ate up Austenland when I got my hands on it. I think I had read The Goose Girl and then came across Austenland just by searching for Shannon Hale's other books.

I don't know if any of you have read Austenland, but it has been made into a movie and comes out in two weeks, on August 16th. I thought about having this post go live then instead of today, but I don't feel like deciding on a new topic, so.... In case you haven't seen the trailer for the movie, you can view it on YouTube. I was going to put the video on the post, but it really slows down the load time for the page.
The book is a very clean romantic romp, but it looks like they might have made it more of a romp in the movie. I will be going to see it with some girlfriends and am hoping that it will make me laugh as well as sigh. ;)

So, after all of that, the actual book I want to talk a little about today, that is a favorite of mine, is the second book in this series, called:

Midnight in Austenland
(Austenland #2)
by Shannon Hale
Adult Romance
January 31st 2012 by Bloomsbury USA

Goodreads summary:
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

Purchase from:

Why it is a favorite:

Well, you should definitely read my brief review, but let me expand a little on that.

I really love how the author does such a fabulous job of using Austen's novels as a basis, but making her stories her own. In Midnight in Austenland you aren't quite sure what is going to happen. Northanger Abbey is a little that way too, but nothing very serious does happen. Catherine, the main character in Austen's novel, has a vivid imagination. She thinks of all these terrible things that might have or could happen. None of it did. (I hope you have all read it so that I'm not spoiling anything.) I was expecting that to be the case in Hale's novel as well. I thought she couldn't really have someone get hurt in any way, could she? I mean, it is based off of Northanger Abbey. That's what Hale does so well - she might have based this off of Austen's novel, but she made it her own story and I didn't feel like I was reading the exact same story written in just a different time or setting with different characters.

What I loved about Midnight in Austenland too (besides that it was a clean Adult Romance novel) are the characters and not knowing how things will end and who the MC would end up with for sure. I've read a lot of books and I don't always get surprised or end up being pleased by whatever ends up happening. This book did both of those things for me, which is why I can re-read it. The writing is also fabulous, like all of Shannon's books.

Really, if you like Contemporary Romance (Adult or YA) and Austen, then you should give these books a try, especially Midnight in Austenland.

About the Author
(from her website)

Shannon's mother says she was a storyteller from birth, jabbering endlessly in nonsensical baby-talk. Once she could speak, she made up stories and bribed younger siblings to perform them in mini-plays until, thankfully, an elementary school teacher introduced her to the wonder of written fiction. At age 10, she began to write books, mostly fantasy stories where she was the heroine.

She continued to write secretly for years while pursuing acting in television, stage, and improv comedy and a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Utah. Shannon was finally forced out of the writers' closet when she received her Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Montana.

A few years and many rejections later, she published her first book, The Goose Girl, an ALA Teens' Top Ten and Josette Frank Award winner. Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born continue the award-winning Books of Bayern series. Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy is followed by New York Times best seller Palace of Stone and an upcoming third book in the series. Book of a Thousand Days received a Cybils award and was featured on many best of the year lists. Her first book for adults, Austenland, spawned a movie which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Shannon co-wrote the screenplay with director Jerusha Hess. The film, starring Keri Russell, will be released summer 2013 by Sony Pictures Classics. A companion novel, Midnight in Austenland, is now in paperback. Her third book for adults, The Actor and the Housewife, was the City Weekly readers' choice winner for best novel of the year. She and her husband Dean Hale co-wrote the graphic novels Rapunzel's Revenge, an Al Roker's Book Club for Kids selection, and its sequel, Utah Book Award winner Calamity Jack.

Shannon has several more books in the works. She makes her home near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, with her super-human husband, their four young children, and their pet, a small plastic pig.

Have your read either of the Austenland books? Are you going to go see Austenland? I'll have to let you know how the movie is after I've seen it if I think it's worth viewing. Do you have a favorite to share this week?
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