When I returned the Emma audiobook, I did a search to see what other Jane Austen audiobooks popped up and when I spotted Austenland. I decided to give it a listen.
I have already done a lengthy review on the book, but as I have said before I like giving the audiobooks a listen as well as sometimes you hear something new, or you make a connection you hadn’t before.
For those who haven’t read the story, Austenland follows Jane Hayes; secret Jane Austen fan who is unlucky in love (a lot of her own doing). After her last disastrous relationship she has decided to give up on men altogether. When her rich aunt dies, one of the few who knows about her affection for Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy, it turns out she has left Jane a dream trip to England and the resort Austenland. As it is non-refundable and non-transferable Jane takes the trip, although it’s not exactly what she dreamed of, as she connects more to the gardener than the gentlemen. Will Jane finally get her storybook romance, or will this vacation turn into a nightmare?
I really enjoyed the audiobook as Kellgren did a great job switching between the American and British accents; along with giving a unique voice to everyone. Martin was especially smarmy and slimy.
The only thing I didn’t enjoy with the audiobook are the things I didn’t like in the book itself. Such as Jane’s strange embarrassment of Jane Austen. I also don’t understand why she dislikes her vacation so much, it’s a free trip abroad and it sounds awesome. And why is she embarrassed to love Jane Austen? Jane Austen is awesome.
If you like the book you’ll like this audiobook, especially Mr. Nobely.
Last year I decided to review the movie Austenland twice, one as an individual review and the second time with my niece. While I discussed a lot about it from acting, to costumes, to the script, etc.
The one thing I didn’t really write about was the soundtrack, and that’s because I wanted to do individual song posts. Everyone knows that music is extremely important when scoring a movie, I’m sure you all have seen videos where they change out the song the film has and put something different in, it changing the mood and tone of the scene.
The soundtrack for Austenland was extremely well curated as it included original songs written for the film; along with classics everyone knows and would enjoy. I plan to only review the songs that were written specifically for the film.
And I am starting off with the first song we hear when we are introduced to the film and our main character: L.O.V.E. D.A.R.C.Y. byEmmy the Great
Emmy the Great AKA Emma Lee-Moss is a musician who first began recording in 2006. She has released multiple albums and collaborated with many artists.
How did she become involved with Austenland? Is she a Janiete? I couldn’t find anything saying she was, but I also couldn’t find anything saying she wasn’t.
According to an interview I found by Vice at the time, she decided to write the songs after seeing that Jerusha Hess, was directing (who directed one of Emmy’s favorite films),and that it was being produced by Stephanie Meyer (yes TwilightMeyer). After seeing the rest of the cast and looking over the script Emmy readily agreed.
I think what makes a lot of the songs she wrote so powerful and wonderful is that Emmy really understood the character of Jane Hayes and it clearly shows in L.O.V.E. D.A.R.C.Y.
Jane Hayes is supposed be an average woman who is also a Janeite/Austenite that loves Pride and Prejudice with a passion from a young age. She is sweet, quirky, longs to be like Elizabeth, and doesn’t always seem to fit in our modern world.
This is the story of a girl And it begins like any other Since she was very young She knew that he would come And now she’s waiting for her dream dream lover
You try to catch her eye But she doesn’t want to see She’s got a picture of a man by her bed She’s got an oversize tshirt down to her knees
She’s singing My boy loves me My boy loves me My boy loves me
She looks into the mirror She’s making a face She’s trying to picture the day that they meet She knows exactly what she’s gonna say
How tall will he be? He’s like six foot two Will he be good to me Yeah he’ll be good to you
Will he treat me right He’s gonna treat you right I hope I meet him soon I hope he comes tonight
This is the story of a girl This is the story of a girl She’s writes his name she writes her name L. O. V. E. D. A. R. C. Y.
She’s singing My boy loves me My boy loves me My boy loves me My boy loves
I know I know I know
First of all I love the pop tune and love the beat with the thrum of the guitar. It is immediately catchy and sucks you in. The song starts off describing our heroine who “Since she was very young she knew that he would come. And now she’s waiting for her dream dream lover”.
This fits perfect with Jane Hayes who started reading Jane Austen in her teens and connects with all Jane Austen fans who also started reading Austen young and wish for their own Austen-type romance.
I feel like the best and most telling lyric is the following one: “Will he be good to me? Yeah he’ll be good to you. Will he treat me right? He’s gonna treat you right.” Because that is what Jane Hayes is looking for in her love of Jane Austen; a man who will love her unconditionally, who will do all he can to protect her, who will respect her, takes criticism well and tries to better herself; etc. She doesn’t want a man from the 1800s, she wants a man with all the good traits of the Austen men, especially Mr. Darcy. And isn’t that what we, all who are single, want?
This went perfectly with the opening scene of the film when we see Jane from teen with a teacup when she goes out, to her college days of studying Jane Austen, to her terrible dating life, etc.
10 years of celebrating Jane Austen (and a few other things!)
10 Years! I can’t believe it. I wasn’t even sure if I’d still be blogging all these years later when I started; but here I am.
I want to say thank you to all of you who have been a part of my blogging journey these past 10 years! I also want to say a special thank you to some of the people who have been big supporters!
A.M.B, ashwillbiologist, Audra’s Book Blogging, Belle, Bibliophile89, caite92lovelythoughts, Christina Boyd, Christina Morland, Countess Parure, Elaine Howlin, Elsie Wells, JASNA EWANID, Jessica Ware, Karen M. Cox, Joy Thompson, lenoremarie34, Lost Opinions, MadsenCreations, Melody Faris, Middle Hyrule, Modesto Jane Con, Ms. Austen is My Homegirl, Northanger Soapworks, Ophelia, the Pretty Poems, ps_hansen_writes, P. S. I Love Rom Coms Podcast, SewMelissaWrites, Sophia Rose, Susan Joy Clark, Tom Austin, What the Austen, and everyone else who has read, liked, or commented!
And to celebrate, as usual, I decided to watch + review Austenland (2013) with my 14 year old niece.
I’m still not sure if this is helping to convert her to liking Jane Austen, but I’m still hoping!
This year I had planned to watch and review Pride and Prejudice (2005) but we only had a few weeks with her and even then we ran out of time. It was the night before she had to leave to return home and I needed a shorter Jane Austen film to watch. I ran through the minutes of the different Jane Austen adaptions and the shortest one is Mansfield Park (2007), but if we watched
that then I might turn her off from Austen altogether.
So I quickly cast a wider net, and discovered that Austenland is only 97 minutes. Not only does it work best time-wise but it is one of my favorites.
Jane Hayes is a giant Jane Austen fan and decides to get out of the grayness of her life (and love life) and go to Austenland- a Regency inspired getaway where you can pretend to be in an Austen novel, go to a ball, and find you own Mr. Darcy ending. Things however, do not go as planned. She ends up having the cheaper package and getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. She starts to fall for Martin, one of the handymen at the resort, but he ends up dumping her because she is enjoying “their world” too much. (Seriously dude? I’m paying for this vacation-of course I’m going to enjoy it.) Anyways…she decides she is going to take charge of her own story and be the best Austen heroine she can be! Will she get her Mr. Darcy? Will she have the vacation of her dreams? Or will she decide she needs to stop her Jane Austen fascination?
This won’t be a full review as I reviewed it last Sunday, but you can read the full review by clicking here. Instead this will just my niece and mine’s thoughts while watching it. For this I refer to my niece as “G“.
Okay so here we go…
In the beginning of the film we are introduced to our main character, Jane Hayes (Keri Russell). She loves Jane Austen, even wanting to watch Pride and Prejudice (1995) when her boyfriend is trying to get close to her.
G: (Boyfriend tries to kiss Jane) Hahaha. Denied.
Yup, nothing gets between a girl and her Darcy.
Present life isn’t going so well at the moment as her ex-boyfriend hits on her and harasses her.
G: (Ex-boyfriend slaps Jane’s butt) OMG! That loser
Me: I know, right!
Jane decides to take the plunge and go to Austenland.
G: Austenland seems like fun. We should go. Is it real?
Me: No. I wish though. I would have my bags packed in a moment.
Jane makes it to Austenland but finds a few surprises. She does not get be vacation of her dreams
G: Miss Erstwhile? (Makes scrunched “ew” face)…Oooh she has the basic package. Omg! Look at her hair!
Me: I know it is so severe.
We met Elizabeth Charming on the way to Austenland but as we spend more and more time with her she quickly become my niece’s favorite. And how could she not with lines like this
MissElizabeth Charming: I sure would like you to turn me upside down in the garden
Miss Elizabeth Charming: Is there something in my eye? (Shoves Mr. Nobley into her breasts)
G: She’s my favorite character.
She also likes Mr. Nobley!!!! Yay!!!
G: [Looking at Mr. Nobley] Isn’t he the guy from that other movie we watched?
Me: Yes, he was Mr. Tilney in Northanger Abbey.
G: He’s cute!
Me: He is indeed!
As things get worse for Jane she gets lonely and starts to get close to Martin.
G: Uuuuhh! No!
And when they kiss…
G: No!!! What about Mr. Nobley!! Get with Mr. Nobley!!!!
But Martin and Jane are not destined to stay together and a new guy comes in to town, Captain East.
G: He [Captain East] looks like the guy in Criminal Minds.
Me: Shermer Moore?
G: If that’s the guy who plays Derek. Then yeah.
Jane is to be sent home for bringing a cell phone but is saved by Miss Amelia Heartwright, another lady at Austenland (and a platinum patron) who takes the fall for her. In return Amelia asks Jane to help her to get with Captain East. Amelia tries to be covert, but just looks silly.
G: [Laughing at Amelia] She runs so funny!
They decide to hold a theatrical and Jane picks Mr. Nobley so that Amelia and East can be together. She and Mr. Nobely have a moment.
Jane Hayes: You’re the resident Mr. Darcy. C’mon you’re every girl’s fantasy.
Mr. Nobley: So I’m your fantasy?
They do the play and it is terrible. Elizabeth Charming shoots Amelia in the eye, they all “die” terribly, and it is just laughable.
G: [Laughing] Why is Captain East taking off his shirt?!
Jane and Nobely have a romantic moment and she promises him the first dance at the ball. The next night they go to the ball and Nobley confesses his love to her, but she rejects him for Martin.
G: No this can’t be the end! She chose him [Martin] over Nobley?!! The country stable boy and granny hopper?!!
The next day Jane is going to go home when she is stopped at the airport by Martin and Mr. Nobley. She declines both of them and returns home. While back in her apartment she receives a visitor, Mr. Nobley, who traveled all the way from England to bring her, her sketchbook.
My niece’s final conclusion? She loved it!!!! In fact she was a lot less vocal about this movie than the others as she was so engrossed. I definitely recommend this film for anyone to watch as it is so well done, but it’s also great for people you are trying to introduce to Jane Austen.
The 10th anniversary is tin, aluminum, or diamonds. As usual I look through the past years and try to find some posts that fit that theme. They aren’t my favorite posts, but the first ones I could find that fit the theme.
So thank you all for the past 10 years of awesomeness, and here’s to many more!
And a very special thank you to all who follow, comment, like, subscribe, etc. I wish I could mention you all by name, but even though I can’t, as it would be a really long list, just know I appreciate you all!!
So I’m sure you are wondering, a review of Austenland? What about Netflix’s Persuasion? Aren’t I going to review that like everyone else?
Yes, eventually. Until I actually post a full length review go to my Twitter page and you can read my live tweet.
I’m instead reviewing Austenland as my yearly tradition (since my niece turned 12), is to watch a Jane Austen adaptation with her and post her review for my Blogiversary. This year we watched Austenland and I need to get my review out before I can post her thoughts.
Austenland the book was published in 2007. I had always been a big fan of Shannon Hale, (I LOVE Book of a Thousand Days), but as I didn’t become a Jane Austen fan until after I was sixteen I read the book a few years after it came out. The book is about a girl, Jane Hayes, who is obsessed with Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice (particularly the 1995 version) who is given the trip of a lifetime by her deceased aunt: a three week vacation in England’s very own Austenland. There she interacts with other Austenites, some Regency men, and tries to get the Austen ending she desires.
While I enjoy the book, Jane’s character did annoy me at times as she not only thinks every guy she has ever been with is her “boyfriend” (even when they haven’t even dated but just talked to them), she also blames Jane Austen for all her bad relationships instead of actually taking responsibility for her bad decisions.
The sequel came out five years later, Midnight in Austenland, and by this time I was a hardcore Jane Austen fan and immediately read it. I fell in love with it and thought it was amazing! This book follows Charlotte Kinder, recently divorced mother who is looking for a way to treat/distract herself. She goes to Austenland and tries to get her Austen ever after, but instead has a little Agatha Christie thrown in.
Then the film trailer came out for Austenland and it looked like it was to be mostly this first book, but with a few traits of the sequel that I loved. I was so excited!!!
I tracked that film and when the release dates were changed, waited. And waited. And then when it wasn’t released in any theater near me, I waited some more for it to come out on DVD.
I rented it as soon as it was out, watched it, and adored it from beginning to end! I thought it was soooo well done.
Austenland the film follows Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) who has been unlucky in love. She finally decides to take her dream vacation, to Austenland, and go after her happily ever after! But things don’t go exactly as planned. When she gets to the resort she discovers her extremely expensive trip was the basic package and is treated poorly by the proprietress Mrs. Wattlesbrook (Jane Seymour) and given dreary clothes and the smallest room. Determined to have fun, she tries her best but finds herself left out as the kind and hilarious Miss Elizabeth Charming (played by the wonderful comedian Jennifer Coolidge) is matched with Colonel Andrews (James Callis) and Miss Amelia Heartwright (Georgia King) has Mr. Nobley (JJ Feild). Jane feeing lonely, mistreated, and all out disappointed with her dream vacation turns to Martin (Bret Mackenzie), the gardener/stable boy/Jack of all trades/etc. The two spend as much time together as possible until they have a fight and Jane is back to square one. At this point Jane is determined to no longer be on the side but go after the main character storyline. She and Miss Charming raid Miss Heartwright’s room for nicer gowns and redo her hair. She also sets her sights on newly arrived Captain East (Ricky Whittle).
However, she finds herself spending more time with Mr. Nobley, having been forced to choose him as a partner in the theatrical. Will Jane get her happily ever after Jane Austen ending? Or will her dreams be crushed by reality?
I LOVE THIS MOVIE! I highly recommend it to any Jane Austen fan as it has everything you could want and all the things you would expect from Jane Austen’s books. There is drama, comedy, heartbreak, love, a secret connection, reveals, and a truly romantic scene that I could watch over and over again.
There were a lot of changes made to the script from the original novel and they also used some aspects of the sequel in writing this and I am 100% okay with all those decisions. Everything they did made the film better.
The set was gorgeous! After reading the book I desperately wanted to go to Austenland and watching this, it’s perfect. A gorgeous house, beautiful grounds I would love to roam through, wildflowers to throw yourself in, a gorgeous area for teatime, etc. I absolutely love it!
Absolutely gorgeous and ones that make you want them. They did such a great job giving Jane plain and dowdy outfits for the beginning, and then absolutely drop dread gorgeous ones when she steals Amelia’s. (And yes Amelia does notice, although it takes a while).
On to the acting! This has a small cast, but they do absolutely wonderful with the production.
Rupert Vansittart as Mr. Wattlesbrook
Mr. Wattlesbrook is a small role but his character is one that you hate as he is drunk, leecherous, and attacks Jane. Vansittart did a great job making you hate him from shot one, although it wasn’t too difficult for him as he played a similar character in Pride and Prejudice (1995) as Mr. Hurst (Mr. Bingley’s brother-in-law).
Jane Seymour as Mrs. Wattlesbrook
Mrs. Wattlesbrook is our villain of the story and Seymour does a wonderful job being rude, demoralizing, and the perfect perpetrator of the cruel treatment she gives to Jane. You absolutely love to hate her.
Ricky Whittle as Captain East
Captain East had a few changes from the book. He still is a lower class man who was engaged to Amelia Heartwright, engagement broken off as her family wouldn’t allow it, and has come back a Captain with money. However, in this he is also a soap opera star and a guy who always finds a reason to take off his shirt and show off his muscles. He is hilarious, sweet, and a lovable character. Whittle was perfect at bringing charm and hilarity to the role and giving him a golden retriever like charm.
Georgia King as Lady Amelia Heartwright
Lady Amelia Heartwright arrives on the scene and becomes Jane’s rival as they appear to both be after the same men. In the original book they were friends, while in the film Lady Amelia is the Caroline Bingley. Georgia King is perfect in making you dislike her and laugh at her little eccentricities as she tries so hard to be Regency. Georgia King clearly has read or watched Pride and Prejudice as she knew exactly who she needed to be and what she needed to do.
James Callis as Colonel Andrews
Colonel Andrews is the one who has been at Austenland the longest, and as you watch you can see it as he lives this Austenland experience. Callis was an excellent choice as he is able to match Jennifer Coolidge/Miss Amelia Heartwright energy and verve; which is not an easy task. As Coolidge made up most of her own lines Callis was able to keep his all alongside her.
Bret McKenzie as Martin
McKenzie is perfect as the disingenuous, smarmy Martin. He’s so fake and false with Jane that it’s obvious to the viewer, but perfectly for the lonely, left out, naïve, and sweet Jane. He’s not the main villain, but plays his side villain perfectly. Even when he knows he’s not going to win, he tries to destroy any chance of a rival competition having happiness.
Jennifer Coolidge as Miss Elizabeth Charming
Jennifer Coolidge was an excellent choice for Miss Elizabeth Charming as she was able to elevate the character and make her one you adored and admired. As most of Jennifer Coolidge’s lines were made up on the spot, it makes it even better as each one is hilarious. The character of Miss Charming is one that knows zero about the Regency era but has money and wants this wonderful experience with handsome men-making everything about her perfect as her odd remarks show she never fully submerges into this world.
JJ Feild as Mr. Henry Nobley
Feild was a perfect casting for Nobley. Nobley needs to be the “resident” Darcy but appear to have more to him than meets the eye; something we discover at the end of the film. At first we are supposed to dislike him,As Jane does, but with every shot fall in love with him more and more. Feild has experience in being in the Austen’s world, Northanger Abbey (2007), and was just perfect. I don’t know how else to describe him, he was ultimate perfection and makes every one who watches him want their own Mr. Nobley. Just absolute perfection!
Jane Hayes is not an easy character, she needs to be kind, caring, sweet, naive, a romantic, etc but someone that we the viewer can relate to and root for. Keri Russell is a great actress and relatability is something she does extremely well in everything she has been in. Just perfect casting as well.
Did you know Keri Russell is actually married to Mr. Darcy? Not only did she get to live out our Austenland fantasies, but is married to Matthew Rhys, Mr. Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberley.
So today is Valentine’s Day and the end of our postings. I always find this fun to do as we just focus on a romantic moment, which could be found in almost any film. Tradition is to end on an Austen themed film (I broke it once and I’m going to try to never do it again), so here we go with our last one on Austenland (which I have started watching every Valentine’s Day.
I LOVED these books, so when I saw they were making a movie I was so excited!
One day I will review the whole movie, but not today-today we are just focusing on a moment.
Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is a giant Jane Austen fan.
She decides to get out of the grayness of her life (and love life) and go to Austenland- a Regency inspired getaway where you can pretend to be in an Austen novel, go to a ball, and find you own Mr. Darcy ending.
Things however, do not go as planned. She ends up having the cheaper package and getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop.
She starts to fall for Martin, one of the handymen at the resort, but he ends up dumping her because she is enjoying “their world” too much. (Seriously dude? I’m paying for this vacation-of course I’m going to enjoy it.) Anyways…she decides she is going to take charge of her story and be the best Austen heroine she can be! Will she get her Mr. Darcy? Will she have the vacation of her dreams?
Or will she decide she needs to stop her Jane Austen fascination?
So this moment comes at the end of the film. Jane took back her vacation, and had fun, gained confidence, and fell for Mr. Nobley (J.J. Feild). However, Martin returned (urgh!) and convinced her to join “reality” and she turns down Mr. Nobley’s declaration of love.
She ends her vacation and when she is speaking to Mrs. Wattlesbrook, the resort owner, she discovers that Martin was the actor, not Mr. Nobley. Mr. Nobley was brought in to fill some time while they waited for another actor to finish his series-Nobley was never scripted for Jane, he wasn’t scripted for anyone.
It turns out that what Mr. Nobley said was real, but Jane is so upset with Mrs. Wattlesbrook manipulations (and the fact that she wasn’t even seen as worthy to be paired with a gentleman) she can’t focus on that-made even more so when Martin and Nobley follow her to the airport.
Jane thanks Mr. Nobley and says good-bye, ready to head home and give up on her Jane Austen interest.
When she gets home she expects her friend to be over soon to talk about the trip, a knock does come-but when she opens the door it isn’t her friend-but Mr. Nobley!
He traveled all the way from England to give her-her sketchbook and tell her how much he loves her! OMGoodness!!!
He tells her that he is in love with her! “Could someone like me make you happy?”, and then says the line that makes my heart melt and brain turn to goo-“You are my fantasy”! Aw, it is just so romantic!!! Jane and Mr. Nobley both get their happy fairy tale ending!
Squee! I loved it!
Even more so, I love that this mimics Northanger Abbey, when Mr. Tilney comes after Catherine and tells her that he loves her:
Ad with both characters being played by the same actor, J.J. Feild? It makes my heart go into overtime.