Midnight in Austenland-- Shannon Hale

Release Date: January 31st, 2012
Genre:  Romance, Paranormal
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 423
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
Series: Companion to Austenland
When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests' Austen fantasies.

Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn't sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside's mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte's heart be a sign of real-life love?
Blurb: Shannon is as hilarious as ever, but Midnight in Austenland lives up to its name in that it's certainly darker than its predecessor.

Review: This book had everything I love about Shannon's books. It was witty, hilariously funny, and the personal growth that Charlotte experiences was even more wonderful than Jane's in the first Austenland. Seriously, at the end I think I loved Charlotte 10 million times more than Jane, and I love Jane to pieces!

I especially loved how this book had so much meat! If you're a big Shan-fan like me, then you know that Austenland is (quite-lovingly) described as froth. Well this book is the big dense whipped-cream froth on top of hot chocolate with cinnamon! Austenland is primarily a romance, but this book is most certainly a mystery first and foremost which adds fabulous spice to the romance. How cool is that?!  I didn't go in expecting a mystery, so it was fun to really get sucked into it. It was a cool mystery too. I loved who the villain ended up being, and who Charlotte ended up being with. What an AWESOME twist!

However, this is the first time I haven't given a Shannon book 5 flowers, that's because this was the first time that I've felt like I couldn't fully appreciate one of Shannon's adult books. With Austenland it was easy to forget how old Jane was because she was still single and dating, and I'm still single and dating. With The Actor and the Housewife the characters were literally IN MY WORLD (or state at least), and it was easy to relate to Becky and everything that happened around her because they were things I was familiar with.

In this book... I don't know. Maybe a teen of divorced parents might relate to it better? I've always counted myself lucky to have almost NO experience with divorce. And Charlotte's back stories just made me sad, unlike Jane's which just made me laugh. So even though I LOVED it, there were times where I thought the real meat of the story was going over my head. I really felt like it's meant for adults or those with some experience with divorce. Not single 20-somethings living in a happy bubble. Perhaps I shall try it again when I'm an adult. What's that? 20-somethings are technically adults? Pish posh.

Oh! Disclaimer! When I say "meant for adults" I don't mean there's any "graphic" content. There's very minimal profanity, and it never goes beyond kissing. A teen definitely could read this.

But I must admit. I think my favorite line was (some profanity, highlight to view) "I will go mama bear on your ass." I don't like profanity, but this made me do a breakfast club fist-pump into the air. Go Charlotte! I truly loved her, even if I couldn't relate to her.

P.S. If you'd like a review from someone who wasn't bothered by this un-relate-ability thing, you should check out Emily's review here. I especially love (and totally agree) with this part of her review:
If you are a fan of the first novel, you'll really enjoy this one. However, I doubt that this companion will persuade any non-believers. Nor do I think it is meant to. ... Charlotte's story begins sadly, but in a very honest way that I think many women will relate with. And though there is fun and frivolity, I was also pleased that Charlotte grew very significantly as a character throughout the book.

~From Emily's review of Midnight In Austenland on Emily's Reading Room

Man. This is one of those moments where I get super-jealous of other reviewers and their ability to articulate things far better than me. Because GAH! this review was hard to write. I hope I made it clear that my issues with the book are because of PERSONAL things, not because of the book itself. I still believe that Shannon can do no wrong. This book just showed me that she isn't just writing books for me (I know, shocker, right?).

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.


  1. This was an awesome review, really. I can't wait for my turn to read it!

  2. Great review, Enna. Can't wait to read it. :)

  3. Interesting - I didn't even realize she wrote "adult" books. It definitely sounds darker than her "princessy" books! Thanks :)

  4. So interesting! I wasn't the biggest fan of "Austenland," but I absolutely loved this one. Glad you enjoyed it, too.

  5. I'm with Debbie. Austenland was my least favorite, probably because it's so frothy, but I loved this one.

  6. You've finished reading it! I'm so glad it came back on NetGalley because I didn't get to download a copy last time before it was archived. I have a copy now and I'm looking forward to reading it. Yay for new Shannon Hale releases. :)

  7. So I finally was able to get this one at the library, and I agree with Debbie and Myrna. I love this book! I liked Austenland, but Midnight in Austenland is seriously my favorite.

  8. Midnight in Austenland is an exciting read. It brings back some of the zanier cast from Austenland, and it's not the characters you're thinking about. The intrigue is very well written and adds extra spice to the story. I was so intrigued it was difficult to put the book down and Ms.Hale did an extremely wonderful job at making sure the plot wasn't easy to guess. If Austenland was everything sweet and nice, then Midnight in Austenland is sizzling and spicy. I find when reading sequels, authors find it difficult to balance their writing; either they make it identical to what they previously wrote, or it's a complete about face. Ms.Hale avoids all those pitfalls completely by keeping some things from the previous book but adding a twist to it so it seems like so much more. Well done Ms.Hale. It's what I've come to expect from her books and look forward to seeing more of in the future.


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