Book number 35 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge (and book number 3 of my holiday reads) is The Austin Escape by Katherine Reay.
‘Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life. Working as an engineer, she genuinely enjoys her job and her colleagues – particularly a certain adorable and intelligent consultant. But something is missing. When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees in hopes that the holiday will shake up her quiet life in just the right ways.
But Mary gets more than she bargained for when Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath. While Isabel rests and delights in the leisure of a Regency lady, attended by the other costume-clad guests, Mary uncovers startling truths about their shared past, who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who now stands between them.
Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts.’ (Thanks Netgalley!)
So The Austen Escape is told from Mary Davies point of view. Mary has a job she loves, although she is dealing with some career frustrations. In addition she has a real crush on her colleague Nathan, not that she’s brave enough to do anything about it! So when her lifelong friend Isabel convinces her to accompany her to England to immerse herself in a Regency Jane Austen themed experience, she finds herself going despite her misgivings.
I chose to read this book based entirely on it’s title – I am a real lover of Jane Austen’s work, and am therefore always keen to read anything based on her novels, characters and the time period. I was not disappointed. There were references to characters and Austen quotes dotted throughout this novel. In fact it highlighted that I really need to re-read more of her novels, rather than just my annual read of Pride and Prejudice. Anyway, back to The Austen Escape…
I enjoyed all of the characters within this novel, but particularly Mary. I found her character flaws to be realistic, and I enjoyed going with her on her journey to both self-discovery but also to really seeing her friend Isabel and why she behaves the way she does. The novel touches on mental health issues, which is something I actually would have preferred a little more of as it is a topic that we should all be talking about. The book was ultimately about Mary working out what she really wants from life, something we all need to be encouraged to do at some point in ours lives.
So, in summary this book has Jane Austen, dressing up in Regency period gowns, friendship, love and self-discovery. What more can you want from a novel?!
Out on the 7th November 2017, go and pre-order your copy now!
Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖
Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction for an advance reading copy in exchange for my honest review.