This is the first in a series to introduce Jane Austen as a sleuth. Author Stephanie Barron has created a series that captures the essence of Austen for the mystery novel audience. Readers who know Jane Austen through only her novels or the many movies/mini series out there (and not her letters, for example) may not always recognize Barron's blend of fact with fiction, but anyone familiar with Austen's biography will surely enjoy the imagination and cleverness of this series. Barron is true to Austen's character and life (as much as we know of it, anyway) and has written a solid mystery also. I enjoyed it.
Hungry for more Jane Austen novels? Unfortunately 6 is all we are left with, but Barron does a fabulous job of not only capturing the spirit of Jane Austen's times, but also bringing the people she loved to life and telling a fun and suspenseful story at the same time. I have read several books by other authors either writing sequels or modernizations, etc. of Jane's books and I have to say that so far Barron is my favorite author of this group. Despite several Jane Austen biographies, her family's justifiable desire to protect her privacy has kept Jane herself somewhat of a mystery to her fans. This series helps feed our desire to know more of Janes's ambitions, the time in which she lived, and her dearest family and friends. I really enjoyed this book and couldn't wait to read the rest of the series!
Barron by use of footnotes explains customs of the time that is not found in other novels. For instance, at the turn of the 19th century, prisoners were presumed guilty until proved innocent, barristers could not cross examine witnesses, solicitors prepared the case for trial and considered a tradesman while barristers appeared in court and retained their standing among the peerage. Well written and informative, highly recommend.
Favorite new series of mine. Based on diary entries found by Jane Austen's family members. The author even puts in footnotes as to what some of the terms mean and some historical facts. Wonderful reading. There are 8 books in the series so far...this is the first one. Kept me guessing almost until the end who did it.
Too wordy and slow. I will not be reading any more of the series.