Book Review No. 54 - The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
Sit down, grab some tea because it is cold outside and when anyone discusses Austen it is always better to have tea in hand.
I read this book in about a day and a half. Katherine Reay's "The Austen Escape" is a charming romance novel set in modern times. Isabel and Mary have been friends since childhood, but things have been strained in their relationship as they've grown into adulthood. Mary took a job working in a flourishing tech job while Isabel is working on her doctoral thesis on Jane Austen.
Isabel's father is angry that is taking her so long to finish her degree, so he pays for Mary and Isabel to go to a two week immersion into Jane Austen's world in an old manor house in England. There, the guests are fitted with the proper attire and encouraged to take on the roles of someone from Austen's novels.
Unfortunately, Isabel suffers a relapse a sort of hysteria while there, and truly believes she is Emma from the novel. A kind, gentle war veteran named Grant takes a special care for Isabel while Mary contacts Isabel's old doctors to figure out what to do.
As one would expect from any Jane Austen novel, Reay introduces confusion, miscommunication and more into her book. I liked it for its romance parts and the history, as Reay has done her work. My only complaint is that the book is sort of slow to start, and I almost put it down because of it. I'm glad I didn't, but the beginning wasn't a real attention grabber.