Study Guide

Austenland Setting

By Shannon Hale

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Pembrook Park

Jane describes Pembrook Park as "the Area 51 of vacation resorts" (2.40). It's veiled in secrecy. Non-disclosure agreements must be signed, and clients are accepted strictly through referrals. Jane colloquially refers to it as Austenland, which is appropriate given that it's one big Jane Austen-inspired fantasy world.

But it's not all fantasy. As in the rest of England, it rains a lot in Austenland. No technology is allowed there, but the women do wear makeup and some of the lamps are electric, taking away the feel of authenticity. One way the staff attempt to maintain the old-timey feeling of the place is by treating servants like the help. They're meant to be seen and not heard.

In a way, Austenland kind of feels like a prison. Mrs. Wattlesbrook is its merry warden, dictating how the men and women should behave on its grounds. She confiscates televisions and threatens to kick out Jane for defying her rules. If Austenland weren't a romantic comedy, there would be something sinister about it. "You will live out your fantasy in Austenland… or else."

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