Reading a Jane Austen novel is like taking a trip back in time. Not only are the clothes and customs archaic, but the language is, too. Forget Urban Dictionary, we need a Regency Dictionary to translate this stuff, lest we think the phrase "making love" means something a lot more scandalous than it actually does.
However, reading a Shannon Hale novel is as fun as a trip to Austenland. Or at least a leisurely weekend on the beach. While the Austen references fly fast and furious, it's not necessary to be an Austen scholar to enjoy the book. And Jane is basically in our shoes; she's no Regency scholar either. She's just faking it until she can kinda-sorta make it.