Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay + Giveaway (US only)

The Austen Escape
Katherine Reay
from Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins)

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.

Things You Didn't Know About The Austen Escape and Me


  1. The Austen Escape is not a retelling of any Austen novel. It’s a contemporary story that alludes to all her famous novels and draws from them, much like a beautiful buffet.
  2. Setting is one of my primary characters so I must know it well. This story takes place in Austin, Texas (...escaping from Austen and Austin) and Bath, England. I called Texas home for nine years and England home for two.
  3. The heroines’ names are plays on Austen heroines—with a twist. “Mary” because Austen didn’t much like Marys. Combing through her books, I could not find a single Mary that Austen portrayed in a positive light. I’m rehabilitating the name.  Isabel is a direct allusion to Isabella Thorpe from Northanger Abbey, who is equally beautiful and manipulative.
  4. The idea for Braithwaite House’s Regency costumed holiday came from two sources: Austen’s Mansfield Park and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. In both stories, the “hiding” or play-acting allowed the characters the freedom to express and then become their true selves.
  5. Spoiler alert: In the original ending, Mary left Austin for her job offer in Boston. I changed this ending in final edits because staying in Austin felt stronger. Mary no longer needs to escape. While the move made sense in the early drafts, it began to feel that rather than running to something, Mary was running from something. I wanted more agency for her and her story.
  6. The only book I’ve ever named myself was Dear Mr. Knightley. A very creative duo of good friends came up with The Austen Escape with me in a Facebook chat—that is where the title for The Bronte Plot originated as well. The name points to the extensive Austen allusions, but also to the idea of escapism and the delights and dangers it holds.
  7. My favorite character in The Austen Escape is Helene Mueller. I loved the commonsense wisdom she brings in her unlikely package. She is loosely paralleled in my mind with The Bronte Plot’s Helen Carmichael, who again is loosely related to my late grandmother and a dear older friend. That said, no character is directly based on a real person I know or have ever known.
  8. Although I allude to tons of classic literature in my books, I primarily read contemporary fiction. That doesn’t mean I don’t read historical fiction, and enjoy it, for book clubs etc., but I prefer contemporary stories that wrestle with how we deal with problems and emotions today. In fact, most of the classics were cutting-edge contemporary stories when written.
  9. Although I primarily focus on female friendships (sisters in Lizzy and Jane, friends in The Bronte Plot, best friends in The Austen Escape) all my novels hold a romantic thread. This “rule” came from my first agent, and one of the best men I’ve ever known, who once said, “Never leave the cherry off a good sundae.” In his honor, I follow his advice.
  10. This is my fifth novel, and I’ve loved writing each and every one. Although they have similar covers, my novels do not form a series. Each story stands alone, and I’ve relished digging into the differing voices, lives and adventures of each heroine. In fact, I’ve enjoyed it so much that my next novel boasts three heroines. More on that later...

About the Author


Katherine Reay is a writer, wife, mom, continually rehabbing runner, compulsive vacuumist and a horrific navigator...

She has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries—who provide constant inspiration both for writing and for life. She is the author of three previous novels, and her debut, Dear Mr. Knightley, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist, winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut, and winner of two Carol Awards for Best Debut and Best Contemporary.

She graduated from Northwestern University and earned an MS in Marketing from Northwestern as well. She then worked in marketing and development before returning to graduate school for a Masters of Theological Studies. Moves to Texas, England, Ireland and Washington left that degree unfinished as Katherine spent her time unpacking, raising kids, volunteering, writing, and exploring new storylines and new cities.

The Reay family (with a great sense of permanency) now resides outside Chicago, and Katherine pursues writing with more focus. She writes character-driven stories and non-fiction that focuses upon examining the past and how it influences our present experiences.



Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Austen Escape—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is your favorite Jane Austen book and why?
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Katherine and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I have only read Pride and Prejudice, which I feel like is the most well-known choice!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks at TLC Book Tours and Thomas Nelson!
Giveaway ends November 22nd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!