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Midnight in Austenland: 06/23/13
Before we begin: I am not a Jane Austen fan. I have not read all her books. Of the ones I have read, my favorite is Mansfield Park. I do tend to like the various Jane Austen spin-offs and adaptations.
I am a fan of Shannon Hale. I have not read all her books. My favorite of her books is Calamity Jack. I really wish she'd write another graphic novel. But that's neither here nor there.
Midnight in Austenland is a follow up to Austenland. It's not exactly a sequel in that it's the location (Austenland) that's the same, not the main characters. While Austenland is an homage to Pride and Prejudice, this one is in the style of Northanger Abbey (review coming).
A successful business woman recently divorced turns to Jane Austen's novels as a means of coping. When that isn't enough, it's suggested that she take some time off from her business (affordable landscaping). She goes to Austenland, playing an older widow. She's not looking for romance, even though that's technically part of the package.
Instead of finding romance, Charlotte finds murder. Although there is a secret of the family estate type mystery built into the fortnight retreat, she believes there has been an actual murder. With the help of other guests and the man hired to play her brother, Charlotte does her best to solve the fictional mystery and prove that there was an actual murder.
It was a fun read with greater depth in both plot and character creation than the first Austenland. In terms of themes and in Charlotte's back story, I was favorably reminded of Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella.