Today’s review is on The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay.
I chose this book because it has the intriguing concept of a vacation in England at a Jane Austen “reenactment” manor. It was also interesting to see how and why Mary’s best friend, Isabel, all of a sudden loses her memory and really believes that she is living in the Regency era. It also seemed perfect for fans of Jane Austen.
Mary Davies is an engineer in Austin, Texas who is devoted to her job. She also has a crush on the consultant that her company has hired to help figure out how to move forward. However, there seems to be something missing from her life. When her childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer invites her to go along on a two-week trip to stay at a manor house close to Bath, she is convinced into going. Shortly after arriving at the manor house, which also happens to have the guests acquire the persona of Jane Austen characters during their stay, Isabel loses her memory and really believes that she is living in the Regency Era.
She is forced to try and help her friend while surrounded by strangers. Mary also discovers that there is more to Isabel’s life than she knew previously, especially the fact that her boyfriend happens to be Mary’s crush from work. All while trying to make sure that she still has a job when she goes back home.
Initially I was excited to read this book because it involves Jane Austen, period costumes, and living as if it were during the early 19th-century. Overall this was an okay read, I felt like there were various elements that could have been executed better. An example of this is that it took over 100 pages for Isabel to finally lose her memory and the whole incident only lasts about 100 pages and the rest of the novel returns to focusing on Mary. While it was interesting to read about Isabel’s memory loss, it also seemed unnecessary.
Mary was an interesting character , but she also comes across as unlikable because she makes some major life decisions near the end of the novel based on what she thought was going to happen, even though she ended up being wrong. I did love Nathan, the love interest, he was swoon worthy and I loved how we swept in to save the day. I also enjoyed getting to know the side characters, especially the older couple, they really made the novel, and Gertrude was another great character.
Even though this wasn’t necessarily the best written book, it will hold readers’ attention, especially if they are fans of Austenland by Shannon Hale. While the author does try to tackle some significant issues, they could have been executed better, because there were sections of the novel that seemed to lag. This is a good summer read for Jane Austen fans, however the quality could have been better. 3/5 Stars.
Janelle L. C.