It’s been an interesting few years for Jane Austen fans. With homages, continuations and mashups of the 19th-century novelist’s works coming at a dizzying pace, it’s hard to know which are worth reading.
One of the few that belong in that camp is Shannon Hale‘s Austenland, which I found “clever and imaginative” back in 2007. Hollywood agreed; the book was optioned for a movie and Hale spent 7 weeks on the set last month. It stars Jennifer Coolidge, Keri Russell and JJ Feild.
Now Hale has written another book set at Pembroke Park, a British estate where you can live the Regency lifestyle (for a price). Midnight in Austenland‘s heroine, Charlotte, is escaping her recently remarried ex and their ungrateful children. Like Jane, the heroine of Austenland, Charlotte finds herself more caught up in the activities at Pembroke than she thought she’d be—and it’s hard to tell where fantasy ends and reality begins. The book will be published in January by Bloomsbury.
Here’s the first few lines:
No one who knew Charlotte Constance Kinder since her youth would suppose her born to be a heroine. She was a practical girl even from infancy, only fussing as much as was necessary and exhibiting no alarming opinions. Common wisdom asserts that heroes are born from great calamity, and yet our Charlotte’s early life was pretty standard. Not only did her parents avoid fatal accidents, they never once locked her up in a hidden attic room.
Sounds kind of like Northanger Abbey to me. Will you check out Midnight in Austenland?