Midnight in Austenland
By Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury, 2012. 272 pgs. Adult Fiction
Charlotte Kinder, freshly divorced, takes a vacation in Austenland, hoping to find the same sort of comfort there that she finds when she reads Jane Austen's book. However, she finds herself unsettled by the man who is supposed to be her romantic match for her vacation: Mr. Mallery is handsome but unnerving. At the same time, she's certain that she felt a dead body in a hidden room, and as much as she tries to convince herself that this murder mystery is all part of a game, she can't help but wonder if something sinister is going on.
Fans of Austen spin-offs will probably like this new addition to the field from Hale. Charlotte is a likable character, and the mystery adds a fresh element not found in Austenland (Hale's original Austen effort). It's not overwhelmingly amazing, but it's a fun way to pass an afternoon. Probably tamer than a lot of adult fiction; does have some drinking and language and little behavior that would have been frowned on in Austen's day.