The Austen Escape
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The Austen Escape

Thomas Nelson / 2017 / Paperback

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Product Description

When an estranged and emotionally fragile friend invites Mary to a manor house in Bath, England, Mary accepts---hoping to spice up her boring life. But when Isabel loses her memory and believes she lives in Austen's Regency era, Mary's caught between who Isabel was, who she seems to be, and the man who stands between them!

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 336
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 0718078098
ISBN-13: 9780718078096

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Publisher's Description

Falling into the past will change their futures forever.

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 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 arise, and dancing ensues as this company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation, work out their lives and hearts.

Author Bio

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. Visit her on line at katherinereay.com Facebook: katherinereaybooks Twitter: @Katherine_Reay

Editorial Reviews

'Reay's exquisite phrasing will resonate with readers and provide much fodder for pondering. . .this is a beautifully written novel and one to be savored and enjoyed.'
'Reay handles. . .scenes with tenderness and a light touch, allowing the drama to come as much from internal conflict as external, rom-comand –type misunderstandings. . .Thoughtful escapism.'
'Unlike many books written in homage to Austen, this is not a modern retelling of any of her stories, but rather a romp among contemporary Austen fanatics. Readers eager for anything Austen-related will enjoy this clean romance that explores the concept of escapism and what it may reveal about our real lives.'

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  1. Iola
    New Zealand
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Love Jane Austen?
    December 12, 2017
    Iola
    New Zealand
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Ive read and enjoyed all of Katherine Reays books, some more than others (isnt that always the case?). I am an Austen fan, so I was looking forward to reading The Austen Escape. But after meeting Isabel and the other characters I suspect Im less an Austen fan than someone who has read all her books a few times. Fan is apparently short for fanatic, and these characters are fanatics. They know their Austen.

    But The Austen Escape will be fun even for those readers like me who cant find an appropriate Austen quote for every situation. (Ive even refused to even watch the Keira Knightley version of Pride & Prejudice, because no one can top Colin Firths Darcy). Once the characters arrive at Braithwaite House, they not only dress in Regency costumes but take on the identities of Austens characters.

    This has the potential to get confusing. However, the novel starts with a useful summary of all the main Austen characters mentioned in the bookwhich I glossed over, and shouldnt have. If Id been reading a paper copy rather than a Kindle review copy, Id probably have been flicking backwards and forwards to keep up. As it was, I also glossed over some of the identities the characters took on, and focused on Isabel and Mary.

    Mary is an intelligent and competent woman, an engineer with a small start-up in Austin, Texas, designing I didnt understand what (but it didnt matter). I liked her passion for her work, and her quirks such as using electrical wire to tie her hair back. Shes facing conflict at work from a new boss who wants to professionalise and systematise her workplace. She doesnt exactly jump at the offer of a two-week all-expenses-paid first-class trip to Bath, England, with her best friend, but she does agree to go.

    The story lost impetus for me at this point. Id enjoyed seeing Mary in her home environment, even with the conflict from her boss, and the not-conflict from her avoiding the consultant she had a crush on. But when they got to England, there were a couple of things which made me lose interest.

    Isabel lost her memory (really, thats a spoiler. But its in the book description so blame them, not me), Mary receives a phone call, and the story picked up again and kept going full tilt until the finish. I loved the endso much I read those last few chapters three times. The end definitely made up for the middle, and it had all the aww! factor required for a romance.

    I enjoyed visiting Bath through Marys eyesshe didnt have the parking problems or the disinterested husband I had when I visited. Mary also didnt have the jetlag most of us experience after trans-Atlantic flights.

    One maybe-complaint is that The Austen Escape is published by Thomas Nelson, so some readers may pick it up expecting Christian fiction. It isnt. I didnt notice as I was reading, but there was no faith aspect to the storysomething which in hindsight seems odd, as Austen was a ministers daughter and church played a major role in the lives of several of her characters.

    On the other hand, Austen was never overt about her faith in the way many readers expect of modern Christian authors. In this way, Reay reflects Austen, and Im sure many readers will see that as a good thing.

    Overall, recommended for Austen fans and Katherine Reay fans. That should pretty much cover most people. Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
  2. Heidi Main
    Cary, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Sweet romance. Nice conflict. Captivating characters.
    December 6, 2017
    Heidi Main
    Cary, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I've read several other Katherine Reay novels, but something about The Austen Escape makes it my favorite!

    The tension and romance between Mary and Nathan is real-to-life and lengthy, which made the entire read much more of a page-turner. The characters were captivating and well thought-out. The Austen Escape is a sweet romance with a nice plot. Grab your copy today!

    Katherine Reay is becoming one of my favorite authors, love her work and especially The Austen Escape.
  3. Becky
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Loved it!
    December 5, 2017
    Becky
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    If youre a fan of Jane Austen, youre not going to want to miss The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay. Katherine is an immediate favorite when it comes to these types of the books. The writing is beautifully done as we are transported to a Jane Austen escape experience at a Regency estate in Bath, England.

    Although its not quite a modern-day retelling of any of Jane Austens novels, fans will love the whole idea of a Jane Austen escape. I especially recommend this for those who have read Jane Austens novels or have at least watched the movie adaptations. There are many Jane Austen and other literary references that readers will love.

    Its more of a clean secular read than Christian fiction because it has many moral principles about figuring out who we are. Life, dreams, relationships, family, and hobbies all make up who a person is. So when certain events turn Marys world upside down that cause all sort of confusion, she learns about all of the beauty and opportunities that have been right in front of her all along.

    Highly recommended!

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
  4. Beth
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    The Best Kind of Escape!
    November 18, 2017
    Beth
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Im always impressed by how Katherine Reays stories begin. One moment, Im wondering when Im going to start feeling the story and the characters, then the next Im completely into everything. She has this way of bringing a character, their unique qualities, and their circumstances to life. While I have read several of Jane Austen novels, I did wonder if I would be lost in some of the details about her characters and how they connected with this story. While The Austen Escape is permeated with Jane Austen in the best of ways, it doesnt simply regurgitate one of her stories. Instead, Reay creates something entirely new and fresh, with a charm all its own.

    One of my favorite things about this story is the focus on Marys friendship with Isabel. Although I didnt actually like Isabel very much, the complexity of their relationship and the development it undergoes throughout the story held my attention. Their shared history is explained in such a way that made me feel invested, despite my misgivings about Isabel. Mary herself is an endearing character, even when I wished she would stand up for herself. Her occupation, engineering, is something I know basically nothing about, but Reay makes it exciting and relatable, and dare I say, almost poetic. Engineering and Austen are two things that I would never put together, but leave Katherine Reay to do it with ease and style.

    I also must mention the fairytale-like quality of Marys time in Bath. The descriptions of the attire, the customs, the manor house, and Bath itself had me enthralled and add such an authentic feeling to the story. Just the whole idea of an immersive Austen experience is fascinating, and I loved experiencing it along with Mary. The romance is secondary, in my opinion, to Marys personal growth, although it certainly adds a sweet layer to the story, and I would have missed it had it not been included.

    The Austen Escape is another winning novel by Katherine Reay. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment reading it. Fans of her previous novels are sure to find another gem in this story. For those who havent read any of her books, start with this one or start with another all of her novels have a unique twist, and theres no wrong place to start.

    I received a complimentary copy of this novel, which I chose to review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
  5. Janet
    Belton, TX
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Double Meaning, Double Dilemma
    November 18, 2017
    Janet
    Belton, TX
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The title of this book has a double meaning. The Austen Escape is the story of two childhood friends who escape to Bath, England. For two weeks, they'll take on the names, customs, and clothing styles of some of Jane Austen's most famous characters with other guests staying in an historic manor house with them.

    Things get complicated, though, when one of the friends actually comes to believe she's from that time period. This young woman, Isabel, gets to enjoy your vacation, believing it's her real life, while her friend Mary makes frantic phone calls home to her father and her friend's psychiatrist. Instructed to give her a few days to come to herself on her own are Mary's instructions, but troubles ensue whenever Isabel encounters modern life.

    When a co-worker learns of Mary's struggle and shows up to help her out, the confusion only deepens. Soon Mary is wanting to make an escape of her own.

    This book is one of Katherine Reay's best yet. I highly recommend it and will be watching for her next great story. I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy, so I could share my opinion with you.
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