The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay is a book for anyone who is a fan of Jane Austen, but it’s also super enjoyable for those of us who aren’t. I have read and enjoyed Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility. However, I'm not one of those people that can quote the books or have reread them many times, and I still enjoyed this reading experience.
In the Austen Escape you meet Mary and Isabel, friends since they were eight years old, now as adults they might have grown apart. Mary and Isabel get the opportunity to visit Bath and experience Austen’s world. They get the opportunity to role-play characters from Austen's novels and experience Regency Era life. While there Mary has to take care of Isabel; who loses her memory, and discovers Isabel might have betrayed her friendship in more ways than one.
This book has a lot of Austen references, but does it in a way in which Jane Austen’s novels are not the main attraction, they complement the main story. I don't think you have to be an Austen fan to enjoy it. It’s a cute, romantic, story. The female characters are complex and you understand how their relationship connects to the works of Austen. The story does a good job of explaining the intricacies of Mary and Isabel's relationship, which has a lot of layers. There are a good amount of other characters in the story, but I never felt confused by it, and think that they do a good job of complimenting Mary and Isabel's personalities.
I will confess that when I first started reading this book, I had a hard time getting into the first few pages, and that has to do with how the story begins (in an engineering office, discussing a project), but once you get to the trip part and the real meat of it, it is a pretty fun story.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and was surprised by the conflict resolution of the characters. I think it is a fun read, but I could see how it would not be everybody's cup of tea.
The Austen Escape comes out November 7, you can pre order it here
*I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*