by Shannon Hale
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?
Having read Austenland and completely loved it, I tried not to compare this book too much to its predecessor, because it's not really a sequel but another outing in the world of Austenland. However, there was less of a focus on the world of Austenland (the park) and more on other elements. The novel incorporated the elements of Austen with a modern and a fictional murder mystery as well as a romance which felt a little haphazard at times, and left a few of the motivations behind character decisions weak and/or rushed. The story did hold my interest, and there is alot of fun and suspense in finding out what is going on. The same wit and humor that the author brought to the writing in Austenland are in full force in Midnight in Austenland which is great because they are a big reasons why I loved the first book. I would recommend this book for a fun quick read. (thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for a preview ebook)