Midnight in Austenland is more of a companion novel than a sequel. We get a fresh new main character with a fresh new perspective. The setting is the same, and Jane (from Austenland) is a supporting character.
Midnight in Austenland follows divorcee Charlotte Kinder, and I found her much more "real" and relatable. She's pretty down to earth, even insisting that the resort allow her access to her cell phone once a day so that she can call her kids. She's not boy-crazy; she's treating herself to a much-needed retreat to rest, relax, and regroup. This is the kind of visitor to Austenland that I would be; able to immerse myself in the costumes and games for fun, but remembering that I would return to a real 21st-century world in two weeks.
Another feature of Midnight in Austenland that I thoroughly enjoyed: the mystery! The book almost begins to read a little like a real-life game of Clue. I love a good whodunnit! And just as Austenland was kind of "romance lite," Midnight in Austenland is "murder mystery lite." There's no gratuitous blood and gore, and the scare factor wasn't very high at all.
I did listen to this one on audiobook, and I'm not sure if that colored my opinion at all. It was a good listen, with a clear-voiced narrator.
Overall, this still wasn't a five-star book, but it was definitely better than Austenland. It's too bad all the setting development occurs in Austenland, or I'd actually just recommend that readers jump straight to this one!
*I checked out my copy of Midnight in Austenland from my local library.