I read Goose Girl and Austenland and went on a search for more, much MORE Shannon Hale, and found this in which she explains exactly that which I've been trying to say, only she's much less snarky (except about poor Plum, I suppose) and much more articulate about it. Thank you, Shannon Hale.
About the contest that 2-3 of you are waiting eagerly to see: I have to grab my judge and peel him from his computer to read the entries to him. So I'll post results tomorrow because now I'm going to go order more Hale books. Damn them for not showing up the minute I hit "buy" ..... God, how spoiled I am by ebooks.