I'm just a few pages in,but I have a preliminary opinion. I am fearful it won't change too much.
I enjoyed the first Austenland, even though there were some challenges in it. It was light and frothy and fun.
This book so far shows few signs of froth and fun. That could change, though. This is a good thing. But there are lots of cliches so far - and I'm just on page 7 or 8. They're cliches and they are not done well, either. You understand what Hale is getting at - for example in the magazine excerpts - but it doesn't ring true. It's not convincing. The characters don't seem to have their own voices. The daughter is 13 on one page and 14 three pages later. That's not a big deal, but didn't Austenland have an inconsistency or two, also? This reminded me of that. Don't publishers have proofreaders?
Also, the tone of the book so far is, of course, trying to mimic Northanger Abbey but it seems out of place. As far as plot goes, it's strange to have a grown woman sneaking through bushes trailing her young daughter's equally young boyfriend, and then hiring a detective to do the same. That's not balanced, and it's almost ignored that it's, in so many different ways, so very highly dumb to do that, even if a mother is worried about her daughter. I don't believe, either, that the main character would read so much Austen in a weekend. And, I can't respect a character who has never read a novel in her adult life that wasn't Agatha Christie. This is a person who just launches into Jane Austen's works? It doesn't feel real.
I'm surprised at all the great ratings here. Perhaps that means it's going to get better.
I will say that I love that Hale had this idea of a Jane Austen-themed resort and that she seems to be using it for more books. I hope she continues, but with more levity and,maybe, a tone that makes me believe she's an Austen afficionado. I like also that her books seem to be sweet and stay away from silly, unnecessary vulgarity that so many people often mistake for sophistication. Hale just wants to tell a good story in an inoffensive, entertaining way, and I think that's great. I hope the writing gets better, though.
I know it seems silly to write so much after just a few pages, but I was reading today and had so many thoughts about the book!