Review: The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

I was so excited to read The Austen Escape because I loved Katherine Reay’s earlier Austen-related novels, but unfortunately this book did not live up to my expectations. It’s been a couple of months since I read this book (since I’ve been slacking on blogging), so rather than a traditional review, I am going to share the things I liked and disliked about this novel.

What I liked about this book

  • The Austen stuff, obviously. I enjoy Reay as an author because she writes Austen-spinoffs. That’s what attracted me to this book, and I really enjoyed Mary and Isabel’s foray into an Austen-like world.  However, I did find the references in this book to be a little confusing since it they were mostly related to Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, which I am not as familiar with as some of Austen’s other novels.
  • The romance. Nathan is wonderful. And I really appreciated that the romance in this story was with a real life guy, not just someone from the fantasy world of the resort.

Where I struggled with this book

  • Exposition. Seriously half of this book was exposition. It’s very character-driven, and you all know I struggle (big time!) with character-driven stories.
  • Overly descriptive. Ugh. Sometimes I felt like I was slogging through. I know Mary went to a resort that was a recreation of the Austen era, but I just couldn’t handle all the descriptive prose.
  • Isabel’s break with reality. I understood it as a plot point, but it was kind of weird. It kind of brought me out of the story. It just didn’t work for me.
  • Writing Style. Many (many!) chapters would jump ahead in the timeline of the story, only to fill in the back story of the missed hours a couple of paragraphs later. This method was just distracting. It always is for me. I wish it had all just been told linearly.

All in all, this book reminded me a lot of Shannon Hale’s Austenland, but I didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much for the reasons mentioned above.

Rating: 2 Stars

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact does not in any way impact my thoughts/feelings about the book.

The Austen Escape
Katherine Reay
Thomas Nelson
November 7, 2017

After years of following her best friend's lead, Mary Davies finds a whimsical trip back to Austen's Regency England paves the way towards a new future.

Mary Davies lives and works in Austin, Texas, as an industrial engineer. She has an orderly and productive life, a job and colleagues that she enjoys--particularly a certain adorable, intelligent, and hilarious consultant. But something is missing for Mary. When her estranged and emotionally fragile childhood friend Isabel Dwyer offers Mary a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in Bath, Mary reluctantly agrees to come along, in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways. But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes that she lives in Regency England. Mary becomes dependent on a household of strangers to take care of Isabel until she wakes up.

With Mary in charge and surrounded by new friends, Isabel rests and enjoys the leisure of a Regency lady. But life gets even more complicated when Mary makes the discovery that her life and Isabel's have intersected in more ways that she knew, and she finds herself caught between who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who stands between them. Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this triangle works out their lives and hearts among a company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation.

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