Charlotte is a modern woman who recognizes her roles in the real world and never tries to dissuade herself from assuming her true responsibilities; she never forgets herself, even when she’s role-playing or falling for the villain. Regardless, she takes part in a love triangle and learns to accept herself, to forgive her ex as well as herself for their one-sided failure of a marriage. More than one mystery is solved, as Charlotte’s concern for her children and herself strengthens into the epitome of confidence and resolve.
Hale verbally whacks Charlotte’s ex with one of the best threats/speeches ever written toward a womanizing husband, emboldens feminine horizons with more self-defense martial arts moves, and points out how terribly wrong society is about relationships, let alone divorces and marriages. The result is a classy, captivating spin on the rigors of heroism, feminism, etiquette, and detective tales. Charlotte is clever, nice, and pretty, but Hale takes her “ordinary” protagonist and makes the reader see beyond the surface and appreciate every side of the character’s personality. Midnight in Austenland is very humorous and romantic, but it is also optimistic and promotes self-esteem in all women (no matter who they are) while Jane Austen is once again remembered fondly in the imaginary realm of lost times for all who wish to belong to the story-worlds she created.