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.
I found this book boring and not very well-written. The author tries to imitate Austen's style, but it lacks finness and charm. I just couldn't get into it. The plot was complicated, too. I hope someone else has better luck with the series. If you're a fan of Austen-esque books, then you might enjoy it. Give it a try!
This is an excellent book! A great blending of a cozy mystery and Jane Austen. The premise reminds me of Susan Wittig Albert's "Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter." Beatrix is the mystery solver in that series and it is written in the time frame she lived in, as this is. Here in the first novel we find Jane at Scargrave Manor, invited by her dear friend, Isobel, newly married to the Earl of Scargrave, to attend a ball given in her Isobels honor as by her husband on their return home from a three month long honeymoon. Here Jane witnesses a tragedy, the death of the Earl from a mysterious and agonizing illness. In time, Isobel and the Earls nephew are charged with not only adultery, but of the murder of the Earl as well. Isobel begs Jane to help her, and so Jane embarks on the investigation. I enjoyed this novel, the plot is well done, the characters are introduced well, and it includes many twists and turns throughout. An important part in the novel is Janes introduction to Lord Harold Trowbridge, a gentleman rogue who plays a great part in subsequent books. Jane perserveres in her quest to find the murderer of the Earl of Scargrave to clear her good friend Isobel. There is alot of action going on, and to me the ending was not at all what I thought it would be. I love that the author explains certain words, customs, lifestyles, etc. for the time period (1802) throughout the book as they come up. Will definately be continuing on with the series.
Loved, loved, loved this Book! Though I am not a fan of Jane Austen classics, this murder mystery is right up my alley.........even the finding of the historical letters from Jane to her sister's daughters that were edited by the author to create this mystery novel involved an archeological mystery of sorts (explained in the foreward in the book) !
The author's footnotes provide explanation to anyone not familiar with terms from the period so that shouldn't turn you off.
The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is that I reserve that rating for books that make a life-long impression on me.
It took me some time to get into the rhythm of this writing format but once engrossed, it was, indeed, a good mystery. Getting to know Jane Austen through her letters to her family and old manuscripts promises to be worth the effort and time. I look forward to reading more of the "Jane....." mysteries.
I thought the idea of Jane Austen as a sleuth was wonderful, but I was disappointed.
Austen's voice is distinctive and Ms. Barron's attempts to imitate it are not successful. Still she clearly knows Austens history and the manners of the day. Perhaps someone else will be less bothered by the short comings and better able to enjoy the story.