Book Review: The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

"An escape . . . that holds a certain allure."

Title:  The Austen Escape
Author:  Katherine Reay
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson 
Release Date:  November 7, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

After years of following her best friend’s lead, Mary Davies finds a whimsical trip back to Austen’s Regency England paves the way towards a new future.

Mary Davies lives and works in Austin, Texas, as an industrial engineer. She has an orderly and productive life, a job and colleagues that she enjoys—particularly a certain adorable, intelligent, and hilarious consultant. But something is missing for Mary. When her estranged and emotionally fragile childhood friend Isabel Dwyer offers Mary a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in Bath, Mary reluctantly agrees to come along, 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 that she lives in Regency England. Mary becomes dependent on a household of strangers to take care of Isabel until she wakes up.

With Mary in charge and surrounded by new friends, Isabel rests and enjoys the leisure of a Regency lady. But life gets even more complicated when Mary makes the discovery that her life and Isabel’s have intersected in more ways that she knew, and she finds herself caught between who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who stands between them. Outings are undertaken, misunderstandings play out, and dancing ensues as this triangle works out their lives and hearts among a company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation.

". . . I love books. The weight. The smell."

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay is simply delightful.  A fan of Jane Austen's novels will love all the references, let alone the setting of this contemporary piece. A homage to Austen's novels, The Austen Escape isn't just about fun costume play, but finding solace in the past, in literature and in the joy of life.  It's about friendships and relationships that endure the test of time as well as those that are seemingly indifferent or broken. 

"Jane Austen understood people, and she was funny. . . but you can't expect to understand them fully with one quick reading."

Katherine Reay has a way of interweaving life into the make belief of her novels.  In The Austen Escape, it's two-fold as one character dissociate with reality and in turn find comfort and truth as a character in a famous classic.  The romance takes a back seat as we dive more into the friendship and relationships of these characters. However, when it's time, the romance goes into high gear. I enjoyed every bit of The Austen Escape and I'd highly recommend an escape into the land of Austen as well as a good story.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
Please note, quotes were taken from an ARC, and therefore an uncorrected proof copy. Please refrain from sharing these quotes unless first verified with release copy. Thank you.
For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.





Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries—who provide constant inspiration both for writing and for life. She is the author of three previous novels, and her debut, Dear Mr. Knightley, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist, winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut, and winner of two Carol Awards for Best Debut and Best Contemporary. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and is a wife, mother, runner, and tae kwon do black belt. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine and her family recently moved back to Chicago.

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