Synopsis: Jane Hayes has an aunt who sees right through her facade. The truth: Jane is obsessed with Austen, and she uses Austen movies and books to ignore real attempts and pursuits of love. When her aunt dies, she arranges in her will to send Jane to England for an all-expense paid vacation at a relatively secret resort that allows women to live out their Austen dreams. There, she, along with a couple of other women, delve into the 1700’s and pretend to court the men provided by the resort. Jane has a hard time becoming the actress she wishes to be, overthinking all of her choices and the reactions of those around her. Stuck between two men, the actor Mr. Nobley who seems to not be acting at all when it concerns Jane, and very real Martin, the estate’s gardener, who she falls for almost immediately but seems to be just another one of her love mistakes? Who will she fall for? Does she even need to fall for anyone at all on this trip?
Review: There was so much I liked about this novel. It was a fun, short, cute, cheesy read that I am truly glad I finally picked up. Jane was relatable. Her actions and her reasonings were something I think most people could relate to, and this made her easy to like. There were also many moments in which I laughed out loud. Some of the characters are just absolutely hilarious and ridiculous, including Jane herself at times. I liked the outcome of the novel and who she ends up with, as I felt something was a little iffy with one of the men. I won’t ruin it, but I think who she ends up with is a better fit for her then the other guy. I also liked that this left me feeling as if I had just watched an awful, but super cute romantic comedy. I was smiling like a fool as I read the last several pages and giggling to myself because it was just so adorable.
With all that being said, there was much about this novel that just didn’t do it for me. It really did feel like watching a cheesy rom-com, and sometimes not always in the best way. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good rom-com, but sometimes, they just aren’t good movies. I find that the more cheesy it is, the more idealistic and almost too perfect, I just find it all too unrealistic. This is what happened with Austenland. I loved the ending, but my laughing was half from thinking it cute and the other half from thinking it was far too ridiculous and unrealistic. The entire last few scenes of the book was over the top and absurd. Though laughable, it just left me feeling like the characters did not have to work for their happy ending. It was more like they just happened to stumble into it and leave all their previous insecurities and problems behind them.
Plus, this could have ended on a completely different note. I mean, for most of the novel Jane is thinking this is her last Austen celebration before going back to the real world again. She’s going to give up Austen and go back home and live her life like a normal person. Then, she falls in love with her own personal “Mr. Darcy” and this entire idea goes out the window. I know it’s a romance, but I felt like Jane was cheated out of the chance to learn and grow from this experience.
So, like most rom-coms I watch, though I had an absolutely fun time being entertained by this novel, I don’t know if I would read it again. I do, however, want to see the movie based off of this book. I think I’ll probably find some of the same things ridiculous and I’ll probably only ever watch it once, but I would like to see it.
I would suggest for those who want a quick, fun read, for those who love romantic comedies, and, obviously, for those who love Jane Austen.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Cups of Tea
Your Pemberley Reader,