First of all, the characters were all shallow stereotypes, completely cookie-cutter and unbelievable. It’s difficult for me to believe that Jane could be so delusional and NOT have a good therapist standing behind her. Jane is completely unlike any successful New York woman I know. In addition, her “romance” was completely unconvincing (“Mr. Nobly” needs some acting lessons, it would seem). And bizarre. The setting, both in New York and LA, is vaguely sketched and seems isolated from the outside. And yet, Jane never seems to question anything, just goes along with the playacting. The ending of Austenland should come as no surprise to anyone (except Jane herself).
And, about the writing style: I understand Shannon Hale’s forte is writing YA novels, and you can tell by the writing style of this book. The plot had promise, however—if the book had been about 150 pages longer and the characters and setting had been fleshed out more, it could have been an interesting read. There have been many Jane Austen spin-offs in the past few years, but Austenland was the most disappointing of those that I’ve read.