Midnight in Austenland
By Shannon Hale
Published by Bloomsbury
Published on January 31, 2012
Summary taken from Goodreads:
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?
Wow this book was not at all what I expected from the companion to Austenland. I loved this book, but for entirely different reasons than the first book in this series. In the first book, the focus was on the love story of the main character, and followed how she traveled to Austenland and fell in love with one of the men. This time Charlotte is a little different than our last heroine. Charlotte is bold, a little too smart for her own good, and getting over a major heartbreak.
I really liked Charlotte's character. To be honest, there were many times in the book when I wanted to reach into the pages and shake her, but I consider that a good thing. Charlotte gets caught up in a mystery when the guests turn all the lights out in the house for a little pitch black hide and seek- poor Charlotte comes upon a dead body- but the next morning it is gone and noone believes her! I really enjoyed the mystery within a mystery in this story, and honestly couldn't tell for a majority of the story if Charlotte was really just going bonkers.
Like all of Shannon Hale's other works the action, conversations, and timing flows naturally. There is a bit of a love interest- but it is absolutely unexpected and surprised me. There are many mysteries and surprises in this story. It isn't necessary to have read Austenland first, but I think it would benefit the reader to read the stories in order (it would ruin the first book if you read Midnight in Austenland first). Any fans of contemporary literature, clean romances, or the young adult author Shannon Hale will devour this story!