“Austenland” was a delightful romp into Jane Austen’s time period of 1816, matched with an intriguing murder mystery. When Charlotte decides to leave her modern day life to spend two weeks in Austenland, wearing period clothes and speaking in the dialect of that time, she finds joy in solving the pretend murder mystery set up for the guest. But as she searches the grounds and house for clues, she begins to wonder if there hasn’t been a real murder!
I enjoyed the book because it sort of mocked Jane Austen, but in a positive way. The characters were all trying to escape reality for a short time, and laughed at themselves as they tried to mimic the dialogue and conversation topics to be true Austen characters. It was creative how the book bounced between Austenland and Charlotte’s past, providing details about Charlotte’s character to coincide with events occurring in Austenland. The murder mystery moved quickly, but left enough questions dangling for the reader that the trip was enjoyable.
Mr. Mallery embodies Charlotte’s heartache and resistance to love again – a result of her cheating husband and fresh divorce. Charlotte’s humor made her an enjoyable character, and diffused any self pity lurking under the surface. The author’s inclusion of Charlotte’s thoughts was clever and witty, but constantly referring to these as “Inner Thoughts” became extremely annoying. I know what an inner thought is without the ridiculous signal every time! The scenes blended a little too seamlessly, as if the description moving from one scene to another had been left out.
The book was a breezy read, and I would recommend it to Austen fans looking for something different, topped with murder!