The Austen Escape – Review

escapecoverby Katherine Reay

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 7, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718078098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718078096

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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.

From Austin to Austen

Mary Davies is an engineer working in Austin, Texas. She loves her job and has secretly been crushing on a consultant named Nathan.  Frustrated by a colleague, Mary is talked into a Regency experience get away in Bath, England with Isabel Dwyer, her best friend since second grade.  They have lost touch over the years and their relationship is more like frenemies. Things take a turn when Isabel loses her memory and secrets come between the friends.


The book switches between the office setting in Texas and the Regency experience in England. As an IT major and an English minor, I really appreciated both locations.  The office scenes seemed so real to life. I especially love that Mary made a collection of little wire animals. Her relationship with her co-workers who worked together since their days starting the company in a garage was really something special.  The Regency experience was also fun with all the characters and quotes from Jane Austen’s novels.

When I first read the description, I was wondering if the book would be similar to Austenland. It wasn’t.  I felt that The Austen Escape was more realistic and emotional. For instance, the romance in the book was more real world and less fairy tale and “sigh-worthy”.

“Austen really had a thing against Marys.”

When I first read this quote, I found this funny and completely true. I have often wondered what Marys must have done to Jane Austen!

Mary’s relationship with Isabel also resonated with me. Even as Isabel’s “sidekick”, Mary was close to her for many years growing up. They seemed to have a relationship more like sisters. However, Isabel treated her very badly and they drifted apart.  If Mary had given up on her, she would not have known just how deeply Isabel was hurting and how they needed each other.

This book was more than just the physical escape; it was about finding yourself and being the best version of yourself you could be.

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