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August 26, 2013



I love to read this- especially the last bit about how wonderful Mr. Tilney is, since he's my favorite. I am 100% a modern version of Cathy Morland, so I'm holding out for my Tilney one day (and hopefully one as charming as JJ Feild's portrayal, which was perfect).

To be perfectly honest, I was probably indignant at that line when I read Austenland for the first time, just because I adore Northanger Abbey so much, and I really don't know why people kind it unsavory. However, I never would have been offended, and I wouldn't have thought any less of you, especially since it was your character speaking! It annoys me to hear that someone would take issue with that- it's your book, and your character, and your/her opinion, for crying out loud! I think you should always write for yourself, and with the familiarity of friends in mind for your readers- in my humble opinion, it has made your books charming and easy to relate to and completely wonderful. I hope your nit-picking critics won't put a damper on yours style, ever. I'm sure you're confident enough in yourself as a writer to know who to listen to.

(And I'm biting my nails waiting for Austenland!! Ahhh! It was the first book to ever divide my sister and I onto "teams" and I'm proud to say I was Team Henry Nobley . I've been dying for a movie for 5 years.)


I find it interesting that people would judge you for that line. I read Austen for pure enjoyment and I vividly remember laughing and laughing at the Northanger Abbey line. I really enjoyed that book but, like you envisioned, I was totally the person who thought, "It's so true!" Mainly because it isn't at all well known, like her other novels. So you weren't completely off base. Some people just don't recognize a good joke when it's presented to them.

Lisa Wagner

I understood the line completely, even though I think Mansfield Park is probably less likely to be enjoyed by the non-scholarly reader. Fanny is just so different from modern heroines.

By the way, when I co-taught an Austen class for homeschooled high schoolers, they liked Northanger Abbey the best!

Still looking forward to seeing Austenland. It doesn't open here until September 13.


I can hardly wait for Austenland to come to my area!

To cheer you up, Shannon, take a look at author Julie Klassen's Facebook page.

Zena Parks

Oh, please. I snort-laughed my way through Austenland. I even called my bestie up to read her passages over the phone so she could undignifyingly snort-laugh right alongside me. That particular line made me smile and shake my head that a "Janie" would dare think such a thing and go, "Oh, Shannon, I love how funny you think you are sometimes." and then realize that I think you're just as funny as you think you are, and so moved past it.
Ignore the haters. Or make fun of them behind their backs. They love that.


I'm actually glad you said this, because when I first read Austenland, I hadn't read Northanger Abbey yet and I thought that perhaps everyone agreed it just wasn't up to snuff or something (with a little ? hanging around in my head about it). Then I read it about two years later and absolutely loved it! So, not to add to those detractors that didn't quite get what you were trying to say, but I'm glad to find that you liked it as well! It's funny what phrases hang around in our minds from books, while others go slipping away until we read them again.

I have to agree with Lisa, though. Mansfield Park was good, but the ending annoyed me. Edmund is a bit, "Well, I guess I can marry her. Meh." Which the romantic in me doesn't like very much at all. Oh well.


Northanger Abbey is my favorite Austen, and Henry Tilney is by far my favorite Austen hero. I TOTALLY get what that line is trying to do, because I hear it all the time. People are usually shocked that I love NA so very much!

Also, Mr. Darcy never appealed to me (neither did Elizabeth, if we're being totally honest), but Henry always did. I love that man, and I especially love that JJ Feild is in Austenland! He was the perfect Mr. Tilney.


Also, I am DESPERATELY UNHAPPY that Austenland isn't coming to any theatres anywhere near me! Alas! Looks like a trip to SLC is in order. I MUST see this.


I thought that line about Northanger Abbey was funny. My all time favorite Austen book is Persuasion, and I think it gets less press than any of her other books.


I LOVE Northanger Abbey. Actually I reread it (third time?) a couple days ago, it's so good. Sometimes I think it's my second favorite, then I come back to Emma, or I reread Pride & Prejudice, and Persuasion get's demoted to second, displacing Northanger, or t'other way round. It's such a good parody, because even as Austen is laughing at gothic novels, she makes you understand that she likes them. However she doesn't get distracted with poking fun at The Twilight Saga of her time (before anyone jumps on me for the comparison look at the girls reactions). Austen is still telling a very real, and rather sweet story. Tilney is gorgeous, and Catherine is adorable. I guessed that the reason your Jane (and some of the novel's other critics) don't like it is just that they feel self-conscious about occasional similarities between themselves and Miss Moorland.
The Bronte sisters supply about the extent of my knowledge of classic Gothics. I want to read at least one of Ann Radclif's books. I'm interested in the woman who inspired so much of our classic literature and yet whose works are now relatively unknown.
Oh, yea, and his performance as Tilney... (embarrassing giggle)


Northanger Abbey has long been my favorite, but I thought exactly what you hoped when I read that line- a chuckle and an "it's SO true!" I hope all the misunderstandings and snotty emails don't add up to a Shannon Hale who is more careful in her future writings because of the way some might misread her :)


Going to see the movie this week! I actually remember reading that line in Austenland, and I was surprised. I loved Northanger Abbey, and I figured that maybe you didn't. Then again, maybe just Jane didn't like Northanger Abbey. So I just kept reading. If you worry too much about what the author thinks, that changes the meaning of the story to you, I think.

But I'm glad you like it all the same. After all, if you didn't, we might not have Midnight in Austenland, and then where would we be?


I've always loved Northanger Abbey and Mr. Tilney has always been my favorite. (I thought JJ Feild was *perfect* in that role!) It's always puzzled me how other people don't see how very funny the novel is, but to each her own, I suppose.


When I read that line I laughed out loud because I knew EXACTLY what it meant (reading it here made me laugh again). A lot of people have never even heard of Northanger Abbey. When I laughed out loud my husband asked me what was so funny and when the line to him he looked at me like I was crazy. He. Did. NOT. Get. It (which, of course, made it that much more funny)!!


I'm going to see Austenland TONIGHT! So pleased! I found a co-worker to go with me who hasn't read the book, but I'm sure she'll love it. My nest is empty this week, with my son off to college, so it's the perfect way to celebrate!

Of course, I have to start going on to everyone I talk to about Austenland, about how much I love Midnight in Austenland as a divorced mom. I need to reread that just to give myself an emotional boost!


OH! So many wonderful Henry Tilney lovers in this comments section! I'm so happy! He's always been my favorite Austen hero and I've always felt he doesn't get nearly enough love and there should be a Henry Tilney fanclub. I made one of my best Internet Friends through our mutual love of Henry Tilney!

I DID have a "Oh REALLY?" reaction to that line, but I have heard enough of "It's the one that's not as good" to figure it was just a reference to that (although, as someone else said above, I put that opinion more in the hands of snobby critics and such rather than the average reader, and Mansfield Park's the one the average for-fun reader doesn't love so much. Admittedly MP is that one for ME.... It also always seems like people are one or the other. You love the one and think the other isn't up to scratch, and it's always between those two). Also, Midnight in Austenland was out before I read Austenland, so it was easy to figure out that that line couldn't have been YOUR opinion if THIS book was the Northanger Abbey riff.

But, lest my real point in replying be lost because of that long paragraph in the middle there, I need to repeat HENRY TILNEY! HENRY TILNEY ROCKS! ALL HAIL HENRY TILNEY! <3


I've not actually completed any Austen novels besides Pride and Prejudice, but I found the "of course" line hilarious. Don't worry yourself too much. It's like the reason you never, ever read reviews: make your art for yourself. Each of your books have been like a gift to me. :)


I agree: Henry Tilney is THE bomb. And may I add diggity. He is my very favorite Austen hero and I hope to find someone similar to him one day. I was not the biggest fan of Austenland (for completely different reasons than what you just mentioned), but as soon as I knew Jane Seymour and JJ Feild were in it, I knew I had to watch. So excited for my turn to come!

P.S. WHEN will they make Goose Girl or Book of a Thousand Days a movie? My heart aches for it if only to love the heroines just a squtch more than I already do.


Northanger Abbey is my favorite of Austen's novels and Mr. Tilney is my favorite leading man. I never did understand those people who had a Jane like attitude and didn't get NA. I read Austenland shortly after seeing the 2007 version of Northanger Abbey and I pictured JJ Field as Mr. Nobley. Now if I could just request Richard Armitage for Eddie Grey?

Jenni @ Just Stuff

Although I fluctuate between Northanger and Mansfield as my favorite Austen book, I did not take issue with that line in Austenland. If anything, I have had the same experience, finding that most Austen fans have not read it. Very excited to finally see the film this weekend, too!


Your Austenlands are among my favorite books. I'm not really a "laugh out loud" kind of person - except when reading Austenland. SO FUNNY. I then that in some other life we would be friends.

Lindsay Whitworth

Just FYI, the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, TX says that this is a film from "Twilight's Stephenie Meyer." I have no idea where they got that from. Do you have some way to contact them and get them to fix it?


me and my sister saw City of Bones today. it was amazing!

Carly W.

I saw Austenland yesterday finally! I LOVED it, of course, as I knew I would.

I think it's funny you're addressing that line... I will admit I myself way a little perturbed with Jane for not liking NA. It's my favorite of all of Jane Austen's books (I think I've read it more than any others) and Mr. Tilney is my idea of the perfect man. JJ Field brought that to life for me in the movie adaptation and so I was so very excited when I learned he was cast as Mr. Nobley. He lived up to my high hopes as well!! :D I've since found my own Mr. Tilney.

Mr. Darcy is all well and good, but he's way too serious for me. Plus, though I wanted to be like Elizabeth, I knew that I wasn't. I'm much more like Catherine, so maybe that has something to do with it as well... :)


I have to admit that line in Austenaland made me chuckle. My favorite Austen novels (in order, no less) are:

Northanger Abby
Pride & Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
Mansfield Park

I've also read a lot of her juvenilia (love "Lady Susan" and even wrote a paper on it in comparison to Mary Wollstonecraft's "Thoughts on the Education of Daughters" -- fun paper). I suppose the fact that P&P ranks in 3rd on my list makes me a little different from many Jane-ites, but that's the way it goes. I've only read Mansfield Park once, and it will probably stay that way. I think Fanny is the most insipid character Austen penned, though I'm glad she gave her a stiff backbone in the end.


I totally got the reference to Northanger Abbey when reading Austenland. BTW I just saw Austenland. A different incarnation of the book, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

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Ah, I remember with fondness the first time I picked up Austenland. My sister had recommended it to me and I was lucky enough to score a copy - the copy - from my tiny-town library. I was sitting down to a Taco Bell feast - for I had escaped my husband and six children for the afternoon - and I almost choked to death on my soft shell while reading the dedication. I think I may have called my sister seventeen times in the hour I spent reading that day... laughing and school-girl-giggling and chortling (one must chortle every now and again).

A few days ago I began rereading Austenland in anticipation of seeing the movie (eeeeeeeek!). I again had to call my sister and laugh hysterically at the Northanger Abbey line, especially in light of the hilarious coincidence with regards to JJ Field. Most excellent.


I have to say, just like many of your other readers, that I love Northanger Abbey. Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel and Northanger is my #2. P&P is #3 or #4, depending on my mood.

But, the reason I love Northanger is kinda funny. I can TOTALLY relate to Catherine Morland. She reminds me of me when I was 17. Easily persuaded and naive with an over active imagination(that still gets me into trouble). Until, of course, Mr. Tilney shows up. He is the ideal guy, in my opinion.

In fact, if Henry Tilney walked out of Northanger Abbey and changed into a pair of jeans, you'd have my husband. No joke. They have many of the same character traits, the most important being the ability to help the lady in their life keep her head out of the clouds. That's really hard to do by yourself!

Anyway, I just wanted you to know how much I LOVE Austenland and I can't wait to see it! If it doesn't come my way soon, I may have to make the 2-hour drive to Spokane.


I watched Austenland here in Anchorge. I loved it! It was hilarious! I'm going to grab all of my fun, Austen-loving friends and make a girls night out of seeing it again! Thanks for sharing your talents and sense of humor so I can escape for a few hours. And laugh. (I love to laugh!)


I just saw Austenland this past weekend with my two best friends, and we loved it. Lots of laughs. I loved the scenes in the employee break area. Thanks so much for a delightful movie!

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