Midnight in Austenland: A Novel

( 63 )

Overview

Charlotte Kinder is in need of true escape when she heads from Ohio to Pembrook Park, a Jane Austen-themed retreat in the British countryside. But as it turns out, this vacation is no time to relax. Hearts are racing and stomachs fluttering in a tangle of intrigues-real and pretend, sinister and romantic-increasingly tough to sort out. It's midnight in Austenland, and Charlotte is about to prove herself a heroine worthy of Austen herself.

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Midnight in Austenland: A Novel

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Overview

Charlotte Kinder is in need of true escape when she heads from Ohio to Pembrook Park, a Jane Austen-themed retreat in the British countryside. But as it turns out, this vacation is no time to relax. Hearts are racing and stomachs fluttering in a tangle of intrigues-real and pretend, sinister and romantic-increasingly tough to sort out. It's midnight in Austenland, and Charlotte is about to prove herself a heroine worthy of Austen herself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hale sends another lovelorn American to Jane Austen fantasy camp in this gothic-tinged follow-up to Austenland. A year after her messy divorce, Charlotte Kinder buries herself in her job, her children, and her beloved Austen novels, but moving on feels impossible. When friends suggest a vacation, Charlotte’s travel agent has just the thing: a trip to Pembrook Park, a proper English estate in Kent where guests and staff immerse themselves in Regency customs and culture. At first the estate feels “more like a Terry Gilliam movie than a Masterpiece Theatre episode,” but once settled, Charlotte plays parlor games, learns country dances, and even lets herself be courted by her assigned suitor, the brooding, magnetic Mr. Mallery. Her vacation becomes more Northanger Abbey when the guests visit a Gothic ruin and uncover a centuries-old mystery. After Charlotte catches a fleeting glimpse of a dead body in a secret room, she’s not quite sure if it’s part of the game or there’s a real murderer lurking. Though a tacked-on romance and some flimsy plot twists strain credibility, Hale’s fans will be thrilled to revisit Pembrook Park and reunite with its regulars. Hale provides a welcome, witty glimpse of a side of Austen rarely explored in the many contemporary riffs on her work. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Charlotte Kinder's cozy life has collapsed around her. She's recently divorced, her lovely children have become terrible teens, and her friends keep fixing her up on awful blind dates. Her only solace is the novels of Jane Austen, and she needs a vacation. Enter Pembrook Park: a British country retreat where visitors can spend their holiday in the Regency era. Each guest is assigned a role and a love interest played by a very convincing actor. Charlotte is Mrs. Charlotte Cordial, widowed in a most dreadful manner, and her love interest is the smoldering and mysterious Mr. Mallery. The playacting goes awry when Charlotte discovers a dead body in a secret room, and the resulting whodunit brings the denizens of Pembrook Park together to solve the mystery. This isn't a sequel to Hale's Austenland so much as a companion piece; both are set in the same universe and feature recurring characters, but the main characters are different. VERDICT Hale's light romantic comedy will appeal to chick-lit fans as well as Austenites who have grown weary of the never-ending sequels to Pride and Prejudice and are looking for a fresh way to explore the author's enduring legacy.—Nanette Donohue, Champaign P.L., IL
Kirkus Reviews
In a sequel to her bestselling Austenland (2007, etc.), Hale sends another 21st-century American to play Regency heroine at Pembrook Park. Charlotte Kinder could certainly use a vacation at the English estate that promises its female visitors the complete Jane Austen experience, right down to the corsets and attentive gentlemen (actors) to provide a chaste 19th-century romance during their two-week stay. Husband James has taken up with another woman, leaving Charlotte's self-confidence and self-esteem shattered despite the millions she's made as the creator of a web-based landscaping business. Post-divorce, while the kids spend time with their father and his fiancée, Charlotte heads for Kent, where she finds a house full of male "eye candy" and other guests recovering from modern traumas. "Miss Charming" (the ladies all take Austenish sobriquets) has also been dumped by a cheating spouse; "Miss Gardenside" is a recognizable 20-year-old pop star whose case of "consumption" masks the symptoms of drug withdrawal. Charlotte ("Mrs. Cordial") finds her designated Romantic Interest, Mr. Mallery, pleasingly smoldering, and she grows very fond of Eddie, who is playing her brother while paying suit to Miss Gardenside. The agreeable pretend mystery set up for the guests turns disagreeably real when Charlotte stumbles on a body while playing Bloody Murder. The body vanishes, but resourceful Charlotte eventually finds it again and identifies the miscreant, even as flashbacks fill in the details of her failed marriage and her lifelong failure to stand up for herself. Of course, she finally tells off rotten James and finds true love with a handsome actor happy to be her real-life Romantic Interest. A smartly plotted mystery somewhat compensates for the fact that Charlotte's psychological problems are entirely predictable, the rest of the characters sketchily portrayed and the arch narration a huge comedown from the real Jane's sharp, sardonic tone. Will no doubt appeal to those fans who think that period clothes and happy romantic endings constitute an authentic re-creation of Austen's hard-edged novels.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596912892
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 106,163
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Shannon Hale

Shannon Hale is the author of two previous novels for adults, Austenland and The Actor and the Housewife. Her novels for young adults include the Newbery Honor-winning bestseller Princess Academy, the Books of Bayern series, and Book of a Thousand Days, and she has cowritten two graphic novels for young readers, Rapunzel's Revenge and Calamity Jack, with her husband, Dean Hale. They live with their four small children near Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit her website at www.squeetus.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 63 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(17)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 63 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I liked the second attempt better than the first. I was not a b

    I liked the second attempt better than the first. I was not a big fan of 'Austenland' but for some reason as soon as I finished that one I felt compelled to read 'Midnight in Austenland'.

    This one just worked for me. Maybe it's because the heroine was more likable than the first book. Maybe it was because there was more interaction between the hero and heroine than the first book. Maybe it's because I love 'Northanger Abbey'.

    I don't know....but I enjoyed it.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2013

    Such a good read

    I really enjoyed this book! It has everything: romance, mystery, comedy, and drama. It was a quick, easy, read which I really enjoyed. I completely reccomend this book to anyone who just wants to relax and be taken by a story.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 2, 2012

    I loved this book!! I read it every spare chance I had. It was s

    I loved this book!! I read it every spare chance I had. It was so fun! I'm at a loss for words to describe how much I enjoyed relaxing and reading this book.

    Charlotte was in her late 30s, divorced, and had two children. Early on in the story she read Jane Austen and decided to take a trip to Austenland while her kids were with their dad for part of the summer. If you've read Austenland you'll remember Miss Charming. Well, she was back and as funny as ever with perfect comedic timing -- hilarious. There were a few other characters returning from Austenland. I enjoyed the continuation of their stories.

    I really liked Austenland, but I loved Midnight in Austenland even more. The mystery added to the fun. I felt so uncomfortable for Charlotte at times, but in the end I was attached to the character and wanted to see her happy with her life. I recommend this book to everyone!

    Content Ratings:
    sexual content: mild
    language: very mild
    violence: mild

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2012

    Absolutely delightful

    A many layered romance, mystery, and story about recovering from a marriage gone bad.
    All in all a fun and great read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    complicated, multi-layered and light fun all at the same time

    My Review (spoiler-free):

    This book was a complete delight to read. The writing is so smooth and fast-paced. The characters were believable. The troubles were real and varied. The romance was fun. The mystery was fun!

    I was never concerned for anyone’s life, necessarily. (Not sure if that’s important to note or not). There was a scene that I felt I OUGHT to be very concerned for someone’s life, and yet, nope. Largely because the writing was humorous even then. (Every "then".)

    Charlotte carried on conversations with her inner self that were hilarious even at the most frightful moments. To add to the enjoyment, her Inner Self was a different character than her Self-Self, the two disagreed and argued. I think that aspect is a unique treasure that I haven't run into in other books. How often (in reality) is my inner voice ultra-sarcastic and critical of me, you know? Well, you don’t know, but it is and it seemed as if Shannon Hale knew! Yikes!

    The main character, Charlotte Kinder, is older-ish and divorced (with kids) and dealing with the unfaithfulness of her husband, which labels this book as “adult”. But I think Young Adults would enjoy this book just as much even if there are moments that make them wonder if their mothers ever thought of them like that. (Yes!) Most of the book is centered around the situation and mystery at the Jane Austen resort setting, including the beautiful dresses and dances and card games and food… everything fun and memorable about Jane Austen’s world. There is tension between what is real and what is pretend with hired actors.

    As I read, I highlighted... in my e-reader (no, not in a hard copy – are you kidding?!) so, while I was reading, I quoted phrases… I hope you caught some? This book is delightfully quotable without giving away spoilers. :-D For example, a mini side theme was the house itself, how it felt alive and friendly or not as Charlotte reacted to other things going on. And always there were the Settees, which she enjoyed noticing, having never said "Settee" before. She commented on them frequently, "adjourning to the room with the abundant Settees", etc, etc. Hilarious. When I least expected it, those Settees would be there again, and I snorted every time.

    Speaking of laughing, I thoroughly enjoyed trying to be quiet. If you can, read at night – through the night, if possible - and try to keep quiet and not laugh out loud and you, too, might be in (quiet) hysterics frequently. (Yea! It could happen!!)

    This book is full of Jane Austen connections, especially with Northanger Abby, so no doubt I missed some depth I might have gotten otherwise (not having read that work of art.) Any thoughts, anyone? Have you read Northanger Abby?

    Midnight in Austenland is definitely complicated, multi-layered and light fun all at the same time. I recommend it for everyone.

    My Rating: 5 - Love it!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing blend of mystery and romance

    Charlotte Kinder’s marriage has gone kaput and she starts reading Jane Austen as a diversion. Her two children are spending their vacation with their father and his new wife so Charlotte decides to go on her own vacation. She ends up going to England and being part of a reenactment type of trip located at Pembrook Park, a stately home. Reborn as Charlotte Cordial, a widow, she embarks on her adventure. She is one of six guests and is matched with Mr. Mallery, a moody but hunky gentleman.
    As part of the entertainment, the three couples are part of a mystery involving a long ago event at a local abbey, and parts of the story are doled out over several nights. Unfortunately for Charlotte, it suddenly becomes all too real for her and she is left wondering what is really happening at Pembrook Park. Who can she rely on for help?
    I always have wanted to go on one of these Austen trips so the whole premise of this book intrigued me. Charlotte is an interesting character, not the typical dumpee. She has a successful business and seems to be a pretty intelligent woman who ignored the signs that her marriage was imploding. On her vacation she has the typical reactions one would being in a strange country, acting out another period of time, and finding oneself in the middle of something very unsettling. The mystery factor is ramped up in this book and the romance takes a back seat but still has a satisfying conclusion. Ms. Hale solves an obvious problem with a simple but effective plot twist so all can end well. I enjoyed the first book in the series and this one was just as good.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2013

    Plot spoilers

    Too many plot spoilers ruin another book all the while bragging how they got their book for free. Bn, you are losing sales to these plot spoilers. When will you ban them and delete their posts?

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Fabulous!! Shannon Hale does it again!

    5 bright shiny, sparkly stars for Midnight in Austenland!! (none of those wimpy stars that are hard to see) I loved this book!!! I probably ought to start this review out with a confession- I am a huge Shannon Hale fangirl so if you're looking for an unbiased review this is not the review for you. Because I am a huge fan of Shannon's books I went into Midnight in Austenland with really high expectations. And in true Shannon Hale fashion my expectations were left in the dust. I loved being back in the world of Austenland. It was so fun to see old friends and meet new characters. I hadn't realized that I wanted to know more about certain characters until I met them again in this book. I really enjoyed getting to know a few of the familiar faces a bit more. As for the new cast of characters, I was a little worried I wouldn't connect with Charlotte as well as I did with Jane in Austenland. I am single and obsessed with Mr. Darcy so it was really easy for me to understand Jane. Charlotte is a successful business woman, a mother of two and divorced. She and I don't have a lot in common. But that is the beauty of Shannon's writing- she creates characters that. even though there is very little common ground, you can understand and love. Midnight in Austenland is classic Shannon Hale- it has a strong heroine, is laugh out loud funny, poignant, thought provoking, adventurous and has just the right amount of swoon. In addition to all of those wonderful qualities Shannon has thrown a mystery into the mix. I have to admit that this crime show junkie had a huge grin on her face when one of the characters makes a comment about being on CSI Pembrook Park. Trying to discern between fantasy and reality is already difficult at Pembrook Park, adding a puzzle to be solved made this trip to Austenland even better than the first

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    Lots of fun!

    This is a mystery and a romance with a healthy dose of humor. With language better than what you hear on TV and no uncomfortable intimate scenes this is the perfect book for all ages (even a teen!)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Strong female character reinvents herself

    Charming novel chronicles the changes of a newly divorced woman while staying at an inn that immerses their guests in the world of Jane Austin. Add a mystery and you have an engaging read! Really enjoyed this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2012

    Fun Escape...

    In Ausetenland, how do you tell what's real and what isn't?

    Charlotte is newly divorced, and needs a break from reality. Destination Austenland. During a parlor game, she stumbles across a dead body, but is it a real mystery, or all just part of the show?
    She gladly immerses herself in the mystery while she struggles to decide if she's ready for romance - real or otherwise.

    I really enjoyed this book, and hated it to end. I loved the Austenesque language (smoothed over for our generation,) the mystery with just the right amount of creepiness, and Charlotte's own inner struggles.

    Great read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    I would like to acknowledge NetGalley and the good people at Blo

    I would like to acknowledge NetGalley and the good people at Bloomsbury Publishing for providing my review copy of "Midnight in Austenland".

    Let me start by saying right up front that I LOVED Shannon Hale’s first foray to Austenland (titled, oh-so-appropriately, "Austenland") AND her follow-up novel, "The Actor and the Housewife". Why, you ask? Because she writes lovely stories, I reply. Stories that are full of realistic heroines who struggle and laugh and cry and work their way through drama (real, imaginary, and vastly over-blown). And they do it all with a sense of aplomb and style (often gracious, sometimes flat-footed, occasionally foot-in-mouth) that is just plain fun to read.

    Which is why I’m oh-so-disappointed to write this review.

    I was so excited about the promise of another trip to Austenland – which made me all the more disappointed after I spent some time there. The story began alright – a new heroine-in-waiting looking for something that is missing in her life after her husband leaves her. Solution – a trip to Austen’s England. Things looked promising – there were a couple of returning characters (including the delightfully clueless and gauche Miss Charming, hooray!), new mysteriously handsome gentlemen callers, and a tish of star-struck drama. But then everything went rather off-kilter, and it did it mighty quick.

    In short, things got weird. Weird as in odd and random – not as in quirky or interesting. There’s a mystery in this one, and mayhem too, but not the good Jane-Austen-farcical kind. This one actually has violence and criminal behavior and a Svengali-like surprise character shift. It might have been a fine piece of chick lit if it were written by someone else – in Shannon Hale’s hands, this material felt forced and uncomfortable, like Jane Austen being asked to write horror. I don’t know if her publishers wanted her to branch out or if she was responding to weird fan mail, but it seemed like this was a book that she was told to write rather than a book she chose or felt drawn to write.

    Revisiting Austenland was a fantastic idea. The place was ethereal and well-mannered and perfectly prim and proper – in the best possible way. Bringing back characters like Miss Charming, Mrs. Wattlesbrook, and even the creepy then-gentleman-now-husband guy was a great idea – it tied the stories together without making the latest iteration feel derivative. But the “mystery” and the plot got way too far-fetched way too fast and I found myself wanting the book to end way too soon – something I wouldn’t have imagined I’d ever say about a Shannon Hale novel. This one felt like a stretch for her – and not in a good way.

    Still, she has written wonderfully lovely stories before. I’m confident she will do so again, so this isn’t a “goodbye” Shannon Hale, simply a “later”…

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    Somewhat pricey??

    Why is the nook book so much more than the Kindle version?

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

    Free iPad

    Kiss your hand and post this on three differnt books then look under your pillow

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    QUESTION!!!QUESTION!!!QUESTION!!!QUESTION!!!

    What age do you reccommend to raed this book? -#superreader

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2014

    READ me Now i said NOW

    I now that only a couple of poeple like me want a cheap game that is realey good ?shannon hale needs to make a good like a a a vidoe game for touch screen nook for once ,if you get this and im talking about even if you think about read this

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Recommended

    I really enjoyed the mystery twist in this novel. I liked this book better than the first one. I did however love the movie from the first book.

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    Finding Herself

    After a divorce that left her reeling, wondering how she could have missed the signs of a cheating husband, a woman seeks solace at a Jane Austen-type retreat in England.

    A mystery done quite well, aith some old-world charm from Jane Austen's era thrown into the mix.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2013

    Yyb

    Hhy

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2013

    C c vvvvzxxc


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