Mystery, Historical Fiction
Read July 2012
Stephanie Barron has written a series of mysteries that involve the beloved Jane Austen. Jane is in the wrong place at the wrong time (or the right place at the right time) to be embroiled in a murder mystery. The whole idea reminds me of Jessica Fletcher of Cabot Cove, Maine who seemed to encounter a murder mystery every Sunday night on CBS. Jane's insight and goodness and perseverance, lead to the solving of this particular set of murders.
I love Jane Austen's stories. I like her stories more than I like reading the books, as I admit that there are times when it is hard to wade through her writing. But I endure some of the more difficult parts of reading her books because I love the stories, the wit in her writing and her characters. I have found myself at times reading sequels to her books or companions to her books in an effort to continue the joy I find in her stories.
In this book, the story was interesting, the characters engaging, but the writing...not so much. I kept wanting the story to end. That is not a good sign. I felt there were too many twists and turns, too many suspects, too many questions. About 200 pages in (of a 300 page book), I was ready to find out who did it. I am not sure if it is the time in my life, perhaps I would enjoy the writing more at another time.
The character of Jane Austen was witty and devoted. I liked her. However, I didn't really think of her as Jane Austen herself. She became a character in the story like any of the other characters without so much being THE Jane Austen. At times I even thought of her more as Elizabeth Bennet than Jane Austen.
I give this book 3 stars because it is an interesting murder mystery. I liked the characters, I liked the story. I just wish it wasn't so verbose, that the author got to the point a little sooner.
Warnings: It is a murder mystery, there is death and lying. There is some rakish behavior mentioned, girls pregnant out of wedlock, and other sinister behavior (again, it is a murder mystery).
I would let my 14 year old daughter read this, but I am guessing she would be bored before she got too far in to it.