Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Hooray for ham!*

One of my top three favorite Shannon Hale books (the other two being The Goose Girl and Book of a Thousand Days) has been born in movie form!

It's been a long gestation, but well worth the wait according to happy Sundance moviegoers - and Sony who just acquired it for $3,000,000.

But see, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Long, long ago, way back in 2008, Shannon Hale wrote a book.

Austenland is the tale of unlucky-in-love Jane Hayes who is stifled by an unhealthy obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth. No man or relationship will ever measure up (this she knows - she even has all her past boyfriends numbered beginning with a grade school crush). When Jane is bequeathed a three-week vacation to an English resort based on Jane Austen's novels, she apprehensively accepts, determined to get Mr. Darcy, and truth-be-told, all men, out of her system forever. But once there, robed in chemises, pelisses, day dresses and spencer jackets, Jane finds herself swimming in deeper water than she expected. The gentlemen actors are scrumptious with their top hats and side burns, her fellow vacationers both hilarious and endearing, but what is she really looking for, and what does reality mean when you're in Austenland?

It's a great book that hits all the right notes on America's obsession with all things British in general (*ahem* Downton Abbey *ahem*) and Jane Austen in particular.

Not long after the writing of said novel, a couple of Shannon Hale's friends (Stephenie Meyer, a la Twilight, and Jerusha Hess, a la Napoleon Dynamite) got a hold of it and together they dreamed of making it into a movie.

In July 2011 Shannon announced on her website that their dream was going to become a reality. Shannon and Jerusha wrote the script, Stephenie's company produced, and Jerusha directed. I was going to link to some of the hilarious posts Shannon wrote from the set in England, but there are just too many. I highly suggest going to her site and just reading forward for a few weeks starting July 5, 2011.

The cast had a blast filming, and apparently the camaraderie came through on the celluloid (pixels?) as well. Austenland was picked up for release at Sundance, an honor in and of itself. And the audience and critical reaction at the sold out showings has be gratifyingly positive.

I can't wait for this to hit the regular theaters. What an awesome thing to happen to a fabulous writer!
You go, girl (and girls, including Stephenie and Jerusha).

What other books are on your wish list to become movies?

~ Susan

* "Hooray for ham" was the line that cracked me up today as I was rereading Austenland for the umpteenth time.


  1. That's awesome! My wife really liked that book, but I haven't got to it. Looks like I better read it quick!

    1. Anthony, go for it. My husband enjoyed Austenland quite a bit.

  2. Holy cow, that's Felicity! (Keri Russell) How cool is that?

    I've still got to reread Austenland. I think I already mentioned that I read Twilight and Austenland on the same vacation, years ago. Of the two, Austenland's premise creeped me out more than Twilight's did. But so many people whose opinions I trust love it that I really ought to try it again. Besides, I adore Shannon Hale, though The Actor and the Housewife, The Goose Girl and The Book of A Thousand Days are my favorites.

    I'd tell you about the book I think would make a fabulous movie, but someday I'm going to write the screenplay, and I don't want anyone stealing my idea! However, Keri Russell would be the actress I would pick to star as well.

  3. I've been meaning to read this book for some time. I think you've convinced me the time is now! :)

    Great post!

  4. I haven't read it yet, but since you gave it such a good rating, I'll request it from my library and give it a try!

  5. Austenland is one of my favorites, and I'm so psyched to see the movie. Thanks for the links.

  6. Yet another book I need to read. My TBR pile is endless. :)


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