Firstly, let me say that I read this a couple of weeks ago but just never quite got around to blogging about it. I’ve written about Austenland before, and I guess that this can be considered a sequel but separate from the first. Shannon Hale does an excellent job of writing the two so they are a pair yet can stand alone without needing the other as a crutch. Midnight in Austenland does reference Austenland and its plot and characters (especially since they share some of the same characters, though not the protagonists), but I enjoyed it as a stand-alone. It’s one of those day reads that just engrosses the reader in this magical little place surrounded by all of these strange people. It’s like Alice in Wonderland but far more feasible, if that makes sense.
Austenland was straight up comedy and romance, which was what I was expecting from Shannon Hale’s second. Though it was quite funny and there was romance, I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be more of a mystery than anything else. There are definite reasons which are obvious within the book that illuminate the genre shift. Because of this, I really liked it. I don’t tend to particularly gravitate toward any mystery or thriller stories, but because of how it was written, I liked it. The only downside of it for me is that now that I’ve read it once and know the story, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be picking it back up anytime in the near future. Isn’t that the way with most mystery novels, though?
Let me end on this note: it may not be quite my usual cup of morning coffee, but it made me curious about Agatha Christie. (Even more than that one “Doctor Who” episode with David Tennant, and that’s saying a lot.) I recommend it, but I warn that it will not be what anyone is expecting. It doesn’t fit in one place with any one type of reader because of the blended genres and odd plot twists. It was enjoyable, though.