Solving a Mystery or Playing a Romance – Which Would You Choose?
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Even a year after her divorce, Charlotte Kinder still feels inadequate, numb, and culpable. With a cheating ex-husband who’s marrying his mistress and two children that take her for granted, Charlotte realizes it’s time do something special for herself, something to get her out of her post-divorce funk, something to help her escape… Charlotte decides to indulge in an Austenland holiday – complete with corsets, cravats, and Miss Charming – that’s right Miss Charming returns in this novel, “what-what?”
To be within the gates of Pembrook Park once again – what a glorious delight! And to see so many familiar faces – the flirtatious Colonel Andrews, fussy Mrs. Wattlesbrook, and the life of any party, Miss Charming – was an unexpected surprise. For those of you who have not yet read Austenland, it is about one woman’s (Jane Hayes) experience in Pembrook Park, a country estate in Kent, where guests get to “experience” living in 1816. With actors, costumes, proper etiquette, and a private ball – this vacation is any Janeite’s dream come true! (Note: These novels can be read out of order, but I’d recommend reading Austenland first – if you haven’t done so already!)
One aspect I loved about Midnight in Austenland and Austenland was learning about each heroine’s past history and relationships. Through the little excerpts before each chapter, readers caught glimpses of Charlotte’s past with her ex-husband. These flashbacks, which tied-in so efficiently with the following chapters, were revealing, engaging, and expanded the reader’s understanding and intimacy with Charlotte. In addition, I loved being privy to Charlotte’s Inner Thoughts, which often had much to say! Cheeky, confident, and full of snark Charlotte’s Inner Thoughts had me laughing out loud! Just another example of Ms. Hale’s comedic genius!
Unlike Austenland, this novel has a mystery and a little bit of murder mixed in! With a fictitious ghost story, a game of Bloody Murder, and many secret suspicions it appears our heroine has a little bit of Catherine Moreland in her! I loved how Charlotte became so wrapped up in the pretend ghost story and mystery – it is what I would have done too! There’s a brooding and beautiful man wanting to shower her with attention, but where is Charlotte? Oh, she is searching for clues like a Nancy Drew wannabe!
After reading Midnight in Austenland and reveling in my recent reread of Austenland, it easy to see why Shannon Hale is such a highly acclaimed and best-selling novelist! With a rapier-sharp wit, eccentric yet lovable characters, and a strong heroine recognizing her true self, this novel is a magnificent homage to Jane Austen! FIVE BIG STARS! My only hope is that this stellar series will continue! Pretty pretty please, Shannon, take us back to Austenland!