The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

The Austen Escape

Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues—particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.

But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath. While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them.

Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings arise, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts.

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
Published November 7, 2017 by Thomas Nelson
Format: Netgalley e-book; 320 pages
Fiction/Romance
Also By This Author: Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy & JaneThe Brontë Plot
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥

Thoughts:

When I first heard about this novel I knew I had to read it. Jane Austen is my favorite author, and there are so many times I wish I could just escape into one of her novels. I’ve told my husband several times that it would be so fun to dress up in 19th century clothing and go to a Regency era ball (it will happen one day!). This is essentially what happens to Mary in The Austen Escape, although she is not as thrilled with the idea since she has barely even read any Austen novels (*gasp*). Her best friend, Isabel, however (and if you’ve ever read Northanger Abbey, red flags should be going up now), is an Austen scholar, and persuades Mary to come on the the Austen vacation with her.

The Austen Escape combines characters and plot lines from each of Jane Austen’s novels, which makes reading it a fun scavenger hunt for any Austenite. However, if you’re not as well versed in Austen as Mary’s frenemy Isabel is, there is a handy character guide included at the beginning of the novel.

Overall, I enjoyed The Austen Escape, but not as much as I had anticipated. I wanted to like this novel more, but I felt that the characters were a bit flat, which made it hard for them to feel real. Although they each possessed believable motives and desires, they didn’t react to one another in realistic ways, which took away from the tension and suspense that would have made the novel more enjoyable. To make up for this, the author added drama between Mary and her love interest, which did feel a little forced and unnecessary; however, it was a sweet romance.

The Austen Escape is for readers looking for a lighthearted, clean romance, especially one that revolves around the world of Jane Austen.

You May Also Enjoy:

Austenland by Shannon Hale
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Amelia Elkins Elkins by A.M.Blair
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

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August & September Highlights!

Happy Saturday everyone :) If you’re like me and you live on the east coast, it’s probably a rainy Saturday, but doesn’t that make for perfect reading weather? Today I’m hoping to finish Scarlet by Marissa Meyer while watching some college football. Yay for fall!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been pretty absent lately. Everything’s fine, just a little pregnancy fatigue (Little Baby French Fry is due in just over 3 weeks), but I did have some fun highlights from the end of the summer that I wanted to share!

August & September Highlights

I read 6 books:

Amelia Elkins Cinder senseandsensibility

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban The Duff

I still need to write my review for Sense and Sensibility, but I’m hoping to get to that this month before the baby is born.

Most Popular Posts:

Monday Updates
Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Read the Most

What I Watched:

CSI

The past week or two I’ve been binge watching the latest seasons of CSI (one of my long-time favorite shows that just ended last weekend after 15 seasons). I liked how the show ended, and Ted Danson was a great show runner for the past few seasons. I’m gonna miss new episodes :( but I’m thinking about giving CSI: Cyber a try.

Highlights:

  • Friends & family visiting – In August my sister visited us for a weekend and it was fun getting to show her around town.

    Danielle

    Kilwins!

  • Meeting new friends! – Last month I was able to meet with my online friend Alise @ Read. Write. Repeat for lunch since we only live a few hours away from each other and it was so nice to chat with her for a bit! I don’t have very many friends in “real life” who are readers and/or bloggers, so it’s always a special treat when I can meet online friends who are also huge bookworms. She was also sweet enough to buy Little Baby French fry this book of nursery rhymes:
    Alise
  • Baby Shower! – My family & friends threw me a lovely tea party themed baby shower last month and it was absolutely beautiful! I’ve always wanted to have a tea party with friends and this one was extra special because we got to celebrate our little French Fry. He’s already loved so much!
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  • Maternity photo session with my best friend Jae – My wonderful friend Jae drove down from Pennsylvania to spend the weekend of my baby shower with me and right before she left she took some maternity photos for us. Jae also did our engagement pictures which are AMAZING, and the maternity photos she took are just as beautiful! Here’s her website if you live in the PA area.
    Maternity1
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  • Fall & football – It’s finally football season! You can ask my husband, most Saturdays I spend in the living room with a game on. Sometimes I read at the same time, but if it’s a team I care about I’m usually cheering or yelling at the TV ;) Our dog doesn’t like football season for this reason…
    Football2
  • Final weeks of pregnancy – There are only 3 weeks left until I hit my due date! I’m hoping the little guy comes early because not only am I running out of room in my belly, but my in-laws are visiting the week he’s due and it would be really nice to have at least a few days to get used to parenting before we have visitors. No matter how happy I am to have friends and family visiting, I’m the type of person who will always gets stressed out about it. I’m just that type of person…

    35 Weeks

    35 weeks pregnant.

Challenges:

  • Hormones – This has been my biggest struggle the past month. I anticipated it, considering how the beginning of my pregnancy went, but it’s still hard when you start crying for no reason or have trouble falling/staying asleep each night. I’ve also gotten to that point where I really don’t like how I look. That’s what it means to become a mom, I guess.

Looking Forward to in October:

  • BABY MONTH!
  • Halloween, cooler weather, and fall festivities – It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
  • Matt’s parents visiting from France! – We haven’t seen them in over a year and they’re visiting us for a week, mainly to see their new grandson (hopefully he comes on time!).

Amelia Elkins Elkins by A. M. Blair

Amelia Elkins

“It’s more than it appears. Don’t step on it, and definitely don’t eat it. It’s called skunk cabbage for a reason.”

“What’s so special about it?” she said, mostly to herself.

“It’s exciting! It’s the harbinger of spring. Don’t hold its foul odor and toxins against it. It’s only doing what it needs to do to survive.”

“Aren’t we all,” Amelia concluded, suddenly feeling a certain affinity for the smelly plant her mother had loved so much.

Amelia Elkins Elkins by A. M. Blair
Published June 19, 2015
Adult Fiction/Adaptation
Format: e-book; 318 pages
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Synopsis:

In 1817, if childbirth didn’t kill a woman, then there were good odds that a “miasma” would. Now, thanks to modern medicine, a woman’s demise at the prime of her life is uncommon enough to deserve an investigation. That is what two lawyers at the Harville Firm promise to do when Amelia Elkins Elkins, a member of a prominent family with more baggage than money, contacts them in the wake of her mother’s untimely death.

In this retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Amelia and her sisters turn to the American court system to seek justice for their mother’s death. It’s too bad that their conceited, silly father is doing everything he can — inadvertently, of course — to hinder their success.

Thoughts:

One of my online friends who blogs over at The Misfortune of Knowing recently published this novel, which is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, one of her favorite novels (and mine as well!), and I saved it for Austen in August this month! Amelia Elkins Elkins follows Amelia, an emergency room doctor who comes from a historically prominent family, as she seeks the aide of a former boyfriend in her late mother’s wrongful death lawsuit.

Blair does a fantastic job at preserving the spirit of Austen’s Persuasion in her modern adaptation. Amelia is a sympathetic character who, like Anne Elliot, is tragically undervalued by her family. While Amelia is left to salvage her family’s estate and seek justice for her mother’s death, her family is more concerned with their own self-centered affairs. At times I felt that Amelia’s elder sister and father were even worse than their Persuasion counterparts! But rest assured, everyone gets what they deserve in the end :)

One of my favorite parts about this novel is how the romance, although thrilling and sweet, was not the main focus of the story. I loved diving into the legal world, which I know little about, and I appreciate how Blair clearly described all of the technical terms and documents. Being an attorney herself, I imagine that she’s had plenty of practice explaining legal practices to clients! If you’ve ever had any interest in the legal field, you’ll definitely enjoy following this fictional lawsuit as it envelops readers in mystery and intrigue.

Read This Book If:

…you’re a fan of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
…you enjoy reading novels with lawsuits and legal plots (especially when all of the jargon is easy to understand).
…you love stories that involve second chances.
…you long for a story with a bit of mystery and romance!

Final Musings:

If you are looking for a contemporary novel that is so much more than just an adaptation of a classic, Amelia Elkins Elkins should be on your To-Read list! A. M. Blair’s book evokes feelings of sympathy, anger, intrigue, and of course happiness as a former couple reunites in a quest for justice.

Austen in August: What I’m Reading

Happy Friday everyone! Since we are a week into August, I decided to talk about some of the books I’m reading for this month’s Austen in August events.

AustenInAugustRBR-ButtonAdam at Roof Beam Reader is hosting his annual month-long event dedicated to Jane Austen, and this is the first year I’ve participated. At the end of the month I’m hosting a giveaway for all pre-registered Austen in August participants here on my blog :)

Misty at The Book Rat is hosting her annual two-week event later this month, and this is the third year I’ve participated. Last year I contributed a guest post and the year before that I joined in her group read-along of Mansfield Park.

This month I’m hoping to read 1-2 Jane Austen novels plus a selection of Austen adaptations/inspirations:

senseandsensibilityLady Susan

Amelia Elkins

Jane Austen Book Club

For Darkness

Are you participating in any Jane Austen events this month? What books are on your reading list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Book Purchases

toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, features my most recent book purchases! This was a fun post to write because my books are rather diverse (science fiction, nonfiction, mystery & thriller, classics, and YA classics). Some of these books I have already read, some I’m in the middle of reading, and others are still waiting to be picked up!

Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession (I didn’t include library check-outs, because I honestly forgot about them!)


Amelia ElkinsAmelia Elkins Elkins
by A. M. Blair (via Kindle) – One of the bloggers I converse with regularly recently published a retelling of Jane Austen’s PersuasionAmelia Elkins Elkins is a modern “courtroom drama” version of one of my favorite Austen novels (I haven’t started it yet, so I may be exaggerating on the courtroom drama aspect, but it is a legal mystery/thriller!). Hop on over to The Misfortune of Knowing to read more about this Persuasion adaptation!

The Lost WorldThe Lost World by Michael Crichton (paperback)- After racing through Jurassic Park a few weeks ago, I went to Barnes and Noble to pick up the sequel. I had hoped to read it during my vacation two weeks ago, but I was immersed in another book on this list. The Lost World is still on my immediate TBR list, though!

Elizabeth GaskellCranford and Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (via Kindle) – I’m desperately trying to get through my Classics Club list, and I have just started Wives and Daughters after hearing about the Victorian Celebration event A Literary Odyssey is hosting this month. The only other Gaskell novel I’ve read is North and South, which I ADORED, so I’m hoping I like these two novels as well.

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir (paperback) – I’ve been trekking through this book for a few weeks now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s anything but boring, but it is highly technical and therefore I can only pay attention when I’m reading in absolute silence (which wasn’t easy to do when I brought this book along on my cruise vacation two weeks ago).

Jane Austen DevoA Jane Austen Devotional by Steffany Woolsey (hardcover) – I picked this book and the succeeding one up from Lifeway the last time I was there a few months ago. Each entry starts with a page-long excerpt from an Austen novel, followed by an important moral lesson from the story. In my opinion, you can never go wrong with Austen :)

Marriage AdventureThe Uncommon Marriage Adventure by Tony and Lauren Dungy (hardcover) – My husband and I started going through this devotional together, but it’s been hard for us to find a consistent time to read it so we’ve been slacking.

IMG_0746What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Monroe (hardcover) – I mentioned this book on a non-fiction themed Top Ten Tuesday a while back and I am pleased to say this one was very entertaining and enlightening. If you like science or just like to ponder ridiculous hypothetical questions, please check out What If?!

Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green GablesAnne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery (paperback) – I bought these three personal favorites a few months ago, anticipating a spring reread. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to doing that, but I do enjoy admiring the gorgeous artwork every time I see these books on my shelf. I wish the whole series was published in this format, but there’s only these three plus Anne of Windy PoplarsAnne’s House of Dreams, and Anne of Ingleside.

What was the last book you purchased?