Midnight in Austenland

Author: Shannon Hale

Inspired's Rating:

About the Book

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?

Inspired's Review

Hale returns to Austenland with a Northanger Abbey twist. Jane Austen and Agatha Christie collide as layers of mystery shroud Pembrook Park.

Charlotte goes to Austenland on a much needed vacation. But her love of murder mysteries has her jumping at every creak and shadow until she can't tell what's part of the game and what's real.

Some great characters come back, including Miss Charming, Colonel Andrews, and Mrs. Wattlesbrook. Colonel Andrews even creates Pembrook Park's own mystery, setting clues and encouraging frights. The new characters are also interesting, especially: Heathcliff-like Mr. Mallery, Charlotte's designated Romantic Interest; Edmund Grey, Charlotte's "brother" who's conveniently named after the hero of Mansfield Park; and Miss Gardenside, a famous actress recuperating from an illness.

Midnight in Austenland is a fun read, but it can get a bit ridiculous at times. If you suspect someone of murder, for instance, best not to let them know and give them a perfect opportunity to kill you. It's just common sense.

Overall, it's a great book that explores the more dangerous side of following one's fantasies.

Inspired by: Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey
Subjects: Following the Path of Jane, modern, mystery

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