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Customer Review

I am always fascinated by Jane Austen related books so I had to give this one a try. The idea is an intriguing one. Jane Hayes is obsessed with all things Austen. Her great aunt feels she will never find happiness unless she gets over her obsession and stops comparing every man she meets with Mr Darcy. When she dies she leaves Jane an all expenses paid trip to England to spend three weeks in a country house living like Jane Austen's heroines did to try and rid her of her obsession.

Jane is renamed Jane Erstwhile and finds herself amongst a group of people - some of whom are actors and some are, like her, on holiday. She is kitted out with appropriate clothes and given a whole sheaf of instructions about how to behave. At first Jane finds it all a bit difficult and considers giving up and going home. But then she finds herself sinking into the whole experience. I thought the tension between the real people and the fantasy was very well done. I did enjoy the book and like Jane I found myself confused between whether people were acting in character or being themselves. I loved the idea of `Austenland' and wonder whether there really are such experiences available.

Overall this is an intriguing book and I liked the characters - especially trying to work out whether people were acting in character or being themselves. The dialogue was realistic and could have come from an historical novel set in the early 19th century. I found the emotions Jane experienced convincing and I loved the ending - it's absolutely perfect. Yes there are minor inaccuracies but they didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book.
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