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Literature / Austenland

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Austenland is a 2007 novel by Shannon Hale.

Jane Austen fangirl Jane Hayes is given the trip of a lifetime when her wealthy great-aunt wills her an all-expenses-paid trip to the Austen-themed resort Austenland, where the guests are assigned the roles and plotlines of a regency romance. Jane hopes to meet her own Mr. Darcy, but complications ensue.


Tropes present in the books Austenland and Midnight in Austenland include:

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  • Adult Fear:
    • For Charlotte, the effect of her divorce on her children, and how they will grow up. Usually Played for Laughs. Compounded into Tear Jerker when she calls her children, finding out her boy Beckett is calling The Other Woman mom and her daughter Lu refuses to speak to her.
    • Alisha is a pop star staying in Austenland following drug abuse and failed rehab stints. Her mother keeps watch over her, posing as her nurse Mrs. Hatchet.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Nobley and Martin for Jane. Nobley is an actor playing Darcy, and Martin is just the gardener. At first she chooses Martin, up until learning that he is a phony. Shannon in an earlier draft had the two of them ending up together.
    • Eddie and Mr. Mallery for Charlotte, though ironically Eddie is portrayed as her wayward "brother" and Mr. Mallery is her Tall, Dark, and Snarky gentleman. She initially chooses Mr. Mallery, since Mrs. Wattlesbrook wouldn't let her date her own fictional brother, but then he tries to murder her after she finds the keys to Mr. Wattlesbrook's Bentley.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
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    • Jane after a string of bad boyfriends finally finds Henry, who risks his heart and finances to fly with her to New York
    • Charlotte after a bad divorce and surviving a murder attempt finally finds love in her Austenland "brother" Eddie as well as an excuse to stay with him in England.
    • Mrs. Wattlesbrook when introduced to Miss Charming as a business partner; Miss Charming has the finances and the math skills to buy back the other Austenland estates and have it turn a profit.
  • Genre Shift: Austenland is a romantic comedy, while Midnight in Austenland is a Gothic mystery.
  • Hidden Depths: Think Mrs. Wattlesbrook is just an uptight hostess that frowns on improper behavior? Think again: she is married to an abusive husband and somehow keeps Austenland afloat despite his escapades, and manages to grieve when learning that he died.
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  • Not So Different: Charlotte, like Mrs. Wattlesbrook, had a terrible husband. Mrs. Wattlesbrook smiles when Charlotte as part of her Austenland character claims she's a widower, and that her husband died painfully.
  • The Alcoholic: Mr. Wattlesbrook is one. Sets a cottage on fire while drunk, which is the final straw for Mr. Mallery, who kills him and hides the body.
  • Yandere: Mary in Midnight in Austenland. She fancies Mr. Mallery a little TOO much.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Charlotte's husband, with a woman named Justice.
    • The same thing happened to Miss Charming as well, so that she copes with it by staying in Europe.
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