Title: Midnight in Austenland
Author: Shannon Hale
Series: Book two in the Austenland Series
Published By: Bloomsbury USA (Jan. 31, 2012)
Source: ARC Copy via Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 3.5 to 4 Stars
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?
I am not going to lie, I was really excited when I first saw Hale's first book in the series Austenland. I mean, I love Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice will always be one of my favorite books. So I was a little disappointed when I read Austenland and didn't love it. In fact I could relate very little to the MC and found myself not really even liking her very much so I was left feeling sad about the book as a whole by the time I was through reading it.
When I saw that Hale was coming out with a second book with the same type of setting and theme I was a little apprehensive about giving the series another try but, I really love Austen so I thought long and hard about it and decided I would give it another go.
And I did really enjoy this book a lot more than the first one. I don't know if it was because Charlotte the main character was more loveable to me or her problems seemed more real or if it was the whole underlying mystery aspect of the book that got my attention but, for whatever reason, this book was way better than the first one and I found myself smiling through parts and on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen with other parts.
I admit too that I wasn't expecting all the twists and turns that this story had to offer.
Overall I think this was a great read and anyone that loves the Austen time period and enjoys a good mystery with a little bit of romance as well will really enjoy this fun read.