Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Guest Blog--Austenland

It was purely an accident that I picked up Austenland written by Shannon Hale. It wasn't until I had been reading it for awhile that I discovered that she is the author of The Goose Girl and Princess Academy. And I had to stay awake tonight until I had finished the book. The story is about a thirty-something modern-day woman who goes to Pembrook Park to spend three weeks living in Jane Austen's world. She is determined to get over her love and obsession with finding Mr. Darcy. I laughed and was delighted with the book and was even surprised by the ending. Traces of Jane Austen's books and characters are woven into the story. I thought I had figured everything out but discovered that I was wrong. I didn't foresee all of the surprise endings. Only one very un-Jane occurrence happened in the book, and it makes me wonder about the author. Jane Hayes goes off to England and dresses in a corset and empire waist style dresses...very Jane Austen, and then the author has the heroine ride sidesaddle on her horse in her morning dress. Now how in the world does any woman throw her leg over the pommel of a saddle wearing a Regency dress? She doesn't do this once but twice she goes riding in the same clothes that she was wearing when she set out on a walk. Okay, so maybe I am an Austen purist, but please...that is going too far. Couldn't she have gone back to her room and put on riding clothes. I just have a vision of Elizabeth Bennett trying to get on a horse in one of her morning dresses. It just doesn't work for me. But I highly recommend the book for a quick read and a chuckle. And let me know if I was imagining the horse riding scenes.


notaconnoisseur said...

Ms Hale's list of clothing: "four day dresses, three evening dresses, a ball gown in white and lace, two short "spencer" jackets, a brown fitted overcoat called a "pelisse," two bonnets, a bright red shawl, and a pile of chemises, drawers, stockings, boots, and slippers." Hale,p. 26. No riding habit mentioned. "She was certainly dresssed for something rough in her pink morning dress...with outdoorsy spencer jacket and her action bonnet, and had nothing to get her out of the ride...Mr. Nobley kept letting his horse trot forward, separating Jane and Captain East, and leaving Amelia riding alone..."p118. There is just no way around it. They are definitely on horse back and not riding in a carriage...with Jane wearing her pink morning dress.

Blogger said...

Have you read Goose Girl or Princess Academy?

notaconnoisseur said...

No. The library here does not have any children's or youth literature available. I don't know what you do if you are an English major. Interlibrary loan? I would be interested in seeing how her books for younger people stands up.