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.