Giveaway Winners Announced for Midnight in Austenland

Midnight in Austenland, by Shannon Hale (2012)60 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a copy of Midnight in Austenland, by Shannon Hale.

The winners drawn at random are:

  • Bluestocking who left a comment on February 17, 2012
  • Jakki L. who left a comment on February 18, 2012
  • Courtney F. who left a comment on February 17, 2012

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by March 07, 2012. Shipment to US addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments and to author Shannon Hale for her great snswers to my probing questions. I am really looking forward to seeing the new movie adaptation of Austenland.

© 2007 – 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron: Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron – A Review

One thinks of Jane Austen as a retiring spinster who writes secretly, prefers her privacy and enjoys quiet walks in the Hampshire countryside. Instead, she has applied her intuitive skills of astute observation and deductive reasoning to solve crime in Stephanie Barron’s Austen inspired mystery series. It is an ingenious paradox that would make even Gilbert and Sullivan green with envy. The perfect pairing of the unlikely with the obvious that happens occasionally in great fiction by authors clever enough to pick up on the connection and run with it.

Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron marks Stephanie Barron’s tenth novel in the best-selling Jane Austen Mystery series. For fourteen years, and to much acclaim, she has channeled our Jane beyond her quiet family circle into sleuthing adventures with lords, ladies and murderers. Cleverly crafted, this historical detective series incorporates actual events from Jane Austen’s life with historical facts from her time all woven together into mysteries that of course, only our brilliant Jane can solve.

It is the spring of 1813. Jane is home at Chawton Cottage “pondering the thorny question of Henry Crawford” in her new novel Mansfield Park and glowing in the recent favorable reception of Pride and Prejudice. Bad news calls her to London where her brother Henry’s wife Eliza, the Comtesse de Feuillde, is gravely ill. With her passing, Jane and Henry decide to seek the solace and restorative powers of the seaside selecting Brighton, “the most breathtaking and outrageous resort of the present age” for a holiday excursion.

At a coaching Inn along the way they rescue Catherine Twining, a young society Miss found bound and gagged in the coach of George Gordon, the 6th Baron of Byron, aka Lord Byron, the notorious mad, bad and dangerous to know poet. Miffed by their thwart of her abduction, Byron regretfully surrenders his prize to Jane and Henry who return her to her father General Twining in Brighton. He is furious and quick to fault his fifteen year-old daughter. Jane and Henry are appalled at his temper and concerned for her welfare.

Settled into a suite of rooms at the luxurious Castle Inn, Jane and Henry enjoy walks on the Promenade, fine dining on lobster patties and champagne at Donaldson’s and a trip to the local circulating library where Jane is curious to see how often the “Fashionables of Brighton” solicit the privilege of reading Pride and Prejudice! Even though Jane loathes the dissipated Prince Regent, she and Henry attend a party at his opulent home the Marine Pavilion. In the crush of the soirée, Jane again rescues Miss Twining from another seducer.

Later at an Assembly dance attended by much of Brighton’s bon ton, Lord Byron reappears stalked by his spurned amour, “the mad as Bedlam” Lady Caroline Lamb. Even though the room is filled with beautiful ladies he only has eyes for Miss Twining and aggressively pursues her. The next morning, Jane and Henry are shocked to learn that the lifeless body of a young lady found in Byron’s bed was their naïve new friend Miss Catherine Twining! The facts against Byron are very incriminating. Curiously, the intemperate poet is nowhere to be found and all of Brighton ready to condemn him.

Henry grasped my arm and turned me firmly back along the way we had come. “Jane,” he said bracingly, “we require a revival of your formidable spirit – one I have not seen in nearly two years. You must take up the rȏle of Divine Fury. You must penetrate this killer’s motives, and expose him to the world.”’ page 119

And so the game is afoot and the investigation begins…

It is great to have Jane Austen, Detective back on the case and in peak form. Fans of the series will be captivated by her skill at unraveling the crime, and the unindoctrinated totally charmed. The mystery was detailed and quite intriguing, swimming in red herrings and gossipy supposition. Pairing the nefarious Lord Byron with our impertinent parson’s daughter was just so delightfully “sick and wicked.” Their scenes together were the most memorable and I was pleased to see our outspoken Jane give as good as she got, and then some. Readers who enjoy a good parody and want to take this couple one step further should investigate their vampire version in Jane Bites Back.

Barron continues to prove that she is an Incomparable, the most accomplished writer in the genre today rivaling Georgette Heyer in Regency history and Austen in her own backyard. Happily readers will not have to wait another four years for the next novel in the series. Bantam published Jane and the Canterbury Tale this year. Huzzah! Unfortunately for fans of the Being a Jane Austen Mystery series, it is the final novel in the series.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

This is my eleventh and final selection in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011. We have now read all of the mysteries in the series and completed the challenge! It has been a fabulous reading journey with Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen, Lord Harold and all the dead bodies scattered across England! I enjoyed every novel and learned so much. The Grand Prize winner of one signed copy of each of the novels in the series will be drawn from the comments on all of the posts here and at reviewers blogs and announced on January 1, 2012. Good luck!

  • Participants, please leave comments and or place links to your reviews on the official reading challenge page by following this link.

Grand Giveaway

Author Stephanie Barron has generously offered a signed paperback copy of Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron to one lucky winner. Leave a comment stating what intrigues you about Jane Austen as a detective, or what you think Jane Austen and Lord Byron have in common by midnight PT, Wednesday, December 28, 2011. Winner to be announced on Thursday, December 29, 2011. Shipment to US addresses only. Good luck!

Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron: Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron
Bantam Books (2010)
Trade paperback (352) pages
ISBN: 978-0553386707

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway winner announced for Jane and the Barque of Frailty

Jane and the Barque of Frailty, by Stephanie Barron (2006)18 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a signed copy of Jane and the Barque of Frailty, by Stephanie Barron.

The winner drawn at random is Kelli H. who left a comment on November 17, 2011.

Congratulations Kelli! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by November 30, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011. We are reading all eleven novels in this great Austen-inspired mystery series this year. Next month we will be wrapping up the year-long event with Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway Winners Announced for Murder Most Persuasive

Murder Most Persuasive, by Tracy Kiely (2011)30 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three copies of Murder Most Persuasive, by Tracy Kiely. The winners drawn at random are:

  • Jenny the Librarian who left a comment on August 30, 2011.
  • Audra (Unabridged Chick) who left a comment on August 30, 2011
  • Mysterygirl87 who left a comment on September 01, 2011

Congratulations to the lucky winners To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by September 15, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Many thanks to author Tracy Kiely for sharing her early poem writing !!!! and for creating such a fabulous new Austen-inspired murder mystery.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway Winners Announced for Jane and the Canterbury Tale

Jane and the Canterbury Tale, by Stephanie Barron (2011) 29 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three copies of Jane and the Canterbury Tale: Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron. The winners drawn at random are:

  • Virginia who left a comment on August 29, 2011.
  • George M. who left a comment on August 29, 2011
  • Beth who left a comment on August 30, 2011

Congratulations to the lucky winners. To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by September 15, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Many thanks to author Stephanie Barron for sharing her Austen travels in Kent with us and for writing her fabulous new mystery in the series.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Murder Most Persuasive: A Mystery by Tracy Kiely – A Review

Murder Most Persuasive: A Mystery, by Tracy Kiely (2011)Guest Review by Aia A. Hussein

Following in the footsteps of her previous works Murder at Longbourn and Murder on the Bride’s Side, author Tracy Kiely has just released Murder Most Persuasive. Wherein she previously drew plot inspiration from such Jane Austen classics as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, in this new mystery novel she’s set her sights on Austen’s beloved Persuasion, re-imagining the classic tale against a modern backdrop and involving, yet again, her Austen-quoting sleuth, Elizabeth Parker.

After the death of Elizabeth’s great-uncle Martin Reynolds, the Reynolds family house is sold.  Much to everyone’s surprise, the new owners discover the body of a man under their newly dug-up pool who is later identified as Michael Barrow, the former fiancé of Martin’s eldest daughter Regina.  It had been assumed that Michael had run off eight years earlier after embezzling over a million dollars from the Reynolds family business.  The discovery of Michael’s body not only unearths questions about the earlier scandal, but it also brings Detective Joe Muldoon, former boyfriend of Martin’s second daughter Annabel (or Ann), back into the picture.  Eight years earlier, Ann had been pressured by family and a close family friend to break off her relationship with Joe, a decision she has come to bitterly regret.

Emboldened by past detective successes, Elizabeth spearheads a movement to discover Michael’s murderer, an effort that becomes all the more urgent when police begin to treat Ann as their prime suspect.  Making matters worse is Ann’s stepmother Bonnie who bizarrely escapes to a spa retreat as soon as her late husband’s funeral is over and returns with a younger man who claims to be an investor eager to get his hands on Bonnie’s and the girls’ inheritance.  Throw Elizabeth’s know-it-all sister who’s suddenly determined to help with the investigation, the mysterious behavior of her Reynolds cousins, and a boyfriend who is ready for Elizabeth to move in with him into the mix and you’ve got a very complicated situation that Elizabeth is determined to navigate.  All this and, of course, she must gently nudge Ann in Joe’s direction, eager that Ann not make the same past mistakes.  Will Elizabeth locate the murderer before he or she can strike again?  And will Ann gain the confidence and courage she needs in order to pursue a relationship with a man that her family has deemed unworthy?

Ann’s story should recall the story of Austen’s Anne Eliot who is forced to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth because he fails to live up to the expectations of family and close friends.  In fact, it becomes increasingly clear throughout the novel that Ann Reynolds is the modern-day equivalent to Anne Eliot, an overlooked middle daughter who must learn to trust her own instincts rather than allow others to easily persuade her.  Persuasion’s Anne Eliot has always been one of my favorite Austen heroines and it’s delightful to see a contemporary reincarnation especially since authors tend to gravitate more towards Austen’s arguably most famous heroine, Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennett.  While I love Lizzy, there is a quiet strength about Anne that I have always found admirable and it’s gratifying to see that quiet strength reborn in a modern Ann.

While Persuasion serves as a source of inspiration for Murder Most Persuasive, most of Kiely’s novel is made up of original material with numerous characters and one or two twists thrown in for good measure.  Like most well-written mystery novels, Murder Most Persuasive is suspenseful and the reader will definitely try and figure out the murder mystery along with Elizabeth.  I, admittedly, think that some of the characters and plot elements could have used more development but this novel is perfect for end-of-summer reading – entertaining, suspenseful, and Austenesque – with Janeites appreciating how Elizabeth always has the right Austen quote for every situation.

Aia A. Hussein, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and American University, pursued Literature degrees in order to have an official excuse to spend all her time reading.  She lives in the DC area and is a devotee of Jane Austen and all things Victorian.

4 out of 5 Stars

Murder Most Persuasive: A Mystery, by Tracy Kiely
Minotaur Books, NY (2011)
Hardcover (304) pages
ISBN: 978-0312699413

© 2007 – 2011 Aia A. Hussein, Austenprose

Giveaway Winner Announced for Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy

Jane and His Lordship's Legacy, by Stephanie Barron (2005)18 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy, by Stephanie Barron. The winner drawn at random is Pamela P. who left a comment on August 12th, 2011.

Congratulations Pamela! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by August 31st, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011. We are reading all eleven novels in this great Austen-inspired mystery series this year. Be sure to follow along.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy: Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron – A Review

Jane and His Lordships Legacy, by Stephanie Barron (2005)It is 1809, a significant year in the life of our esteemed authoress Jane Austen. After close to five years of being shuffled about England between relatives, the three unattached Austen ladies: widower Mrs. Austen and her two unmarried daughters Jane and Cassandra are given permanent refuge by Jane’s elder brother Edward Austen Knight in the village of Chawton. They will live at Chawton cottage the former residence of the recently deceased steward of Edward’s vast estate there. Still privately grieving the tragic death of her dear friend Lord Harold Trowbridge (The Gentleman Rogue) nine months prior, Jane arrives in the village to find an uneasy welcome to the Squire’s family. It appears that the villagers are unhappy that the widow of Edward’s former steward was asked to vacate the cottage in favor of his family, and more seriously, Edward as an absentee Squire has been remiss in his duties since the death of his wife Elizabeth the previous year.

Within hours of Jane’s arrival at the cottage she receives an unexpected visit from contemptuous Mr. Bartholomew Chizzlewit, attorney to the family of His Grace the Duke of Wilborough. Performing his duty as family solicitor, he deposits on Jane’s dining-parlor floor a curiously carved chest announcing that she is listed as a legatee in Lord Harold’s Last Will and Testament. His bequest (should she accept it) is that she accept his personal papers and diaries, “a lifetime of incident, intrigue, and conspiracy; of adventure and scandal; of wagers lost and won,” and write his life story! After the Duke of Wilborough’s family contested the legacy in a London court and lost, they are bitter about the arrangement and hold it against Jane. Not only is this startling news, the thought of reliving the Gentleman Rogues life, far before she met him, and then through his entire life as a spy for the British government, is both curious and painful to her. When the huge chest is removed into the cottage’s cellar, another startling discover brings Jane’s first day at Chawton to a scandalous close. A body of a man lies rotting and rat eaten on the floor.

Jane’s brother Henry arrives the next day and the inquest into the mysterious death begins by the local authorities with Jane and Henry in assistance. After Lord Harold’s trunk is stolen, Jane is convinced that it contains information that someone did not want her to discover. Could the theft be linked to the Wilborough family trying to cover up their son’s notorious life? Or, could it be the newcomers to the neighborhood, Julian Thrace, a young London Buck who is rumored to be the illegitimate heir apparent to the Earl of Holbrook vast wealth, and his half-sister Lady Imogen, the Earl’s acknowledged heir? Or, is the dead body in the cellar a personal vendetta by the bitter Jack Hinton, eager to make trouble for the Austen family? He claims to be the rightful heir to the Knight family estate of Chawton that Jane’s brother Edward inherited. There are suspects and motives, suppositions and accusations galore for our observant and clever Jane to ponder and detect before she solves the crime.

One chapter into the eighth novel in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery series and I am totally convinced that Jane Austen is channeling the actual events of her life through author Stephanie Barron. She has so convincingly captured her witty, acerbic and penetrating voice that I am totally mesmerized. Like Jane, I am still grieving the tragic death of her secret crush Lord Harold. Reading his letters and journals was like bringing him back to life. Delightful torture for those Gentleman Rogue fans such as myself. This mystery was very well-plotted and fast-paced, but Barron really shines with her incredible historical details and the fact that in this discriminating Austen-obsessed mind, no one will ever be able to match her unique ability to channel my favorite author’s voice so perfectly.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

This is my eighth selection in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011, as we are reading all eleven mysteries in the series this year. Participants, please leave comments and or place links to your reviews on the official reading challenge page by following this link.

Grand Giveaway

Author Stephanie Barron has generously offered a signed hardcover copy of Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy to one lucky winner. Leave a comment stating what intrigues you about this novel, or if you have read it, who your favorite character is by midnight PT, Wednesday, August 24, 2011. Winner to be announced on Thursday, August 25, 2011. Shipment to US addresses only. Good luck!

Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy, Being a Jane Austen Mystery (No 8), by Stephanie Barron
Bantam Books, 2005
Mass market paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-0553584073

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway winner Announced for Jane and the Ghosts of Netley

Jane and the Ghosts of Netley, by Stephanie Barron (2003)22 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of Jane and the Ghosts of Netley, by Stephanie Barron. The winner drawn at random is Lynn M. who left a comment on July 19th.

Congratulations Lynn! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by August 3rd, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011. We are reading all eleven novels in this great Austen-inspired mystery series this year, so check back each month to read my review and enter a chance to win a copy of the book!

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane and the Ghosts of Netley: Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron – A Review

Jane and the Ghosts of Netley, Being a Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron (2003)It is the fall of 1808 and Jane Austen and her family are in mourning after the sudden death of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Austen, the elegant and enchanting thirty-five year old wife of Jane’s elder brother Edward and mother of eleven children. To entertain the two eldest boys while they stay with her in Southampton, Jane takes them rowing up the Solent to the ruins of Netley Abbey, a Cistercian monastery long abandoned and now a picturesque ruin worthy of a Radcliffe Gothic novel, resplendent with tales of ghosts haunting its halls. Startled by a dark figure lurking in the shadows, Jane is called to immediately attend her friend aboard a Royal Naval vessel anchored nearby.  It is an unusual request, but she cannot refuse any summons by the Gentleman Rogue. Yes, Gentle Readers. Lord Harold Trowbridge has re-appeared after two years without any communication with our dear Jane.

Her heart is aflutter and her keen mind piqued when he requests her assistance to spy upon a local lady of interest; the beautiful and cunning widow of a French merchant, Sophia Challoner, a Diamond of the First Water who trifled with Lord Trowbridge’s heart, flattering and deceiving him into revealing state secrets to pass along to aid Bonaparte’s cause. Having just returned from Portugal, she now resides at Netley Lodge adjacent to the ruined abbey. Jane’s assignment is to keep “a weathered eye on the activity of that house” and discover how Sophia dispatches her intelligence to France. To aid the investigation, Jane will befriend the dubious and dangerous lady while arson and murders a plenty puzzle the plot, – and Lord Harold and Jane take center stage in the investigation and secretly in each others hearts.

The seventh mystery in the series, Barron really hits her stride with more fluid language from Jane’s perspective, the intricate historical details of the Peninsular War against France, and the political intrigue that fuels spies and generates murder. Having so much dialogue devoted to Lord Harold and Jane is a delight, but readers will be disarmed by the concluding pages and dispatched into a crying jag that could take a week to recover from. This is a three hankie weepie that will startle and sear your soul. Great writing makes it all compelling and tragic. *sigh* Seven is definitely not a lucky number for Jane and the Gentleman Rogue. I loved every word, and hated the ending all the same. *sniff*

6 out of 5 Regency Stars

Jane and the Ghosts of Netley, Being a Jane Austen Mystery (#7), by Stephanie Barron
Bantam Books (2003)
Mass market paperback (352) pages
ISBN: 978-0553584066

This is my seventh selection in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011, as we are reading all eleven mysteries in the series this year. Participants, please leave comments and or place links to your reviews on the official reading challenge page by following this link.

Grand Giveaway

Author Stephanie Barron has generously offered a signed hardcover copy of Jane and the Ghosts of Netley to one lucky winner. Leave a comment stating what intrigues you about this novel, or if you have read it, who your favorite character is by midnight PT, Wednesday, July 27, 2011. Winner to be announced on Thursday, July 28, 2011. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Preview of Midnight in Austenland: A Novel, by Shannon Hale

Midnight at Austenland: A Novel, by Shannon Hale (2012)In 2007 bestselling young adult novelist Shannon Hale ventured into adult fiction and brought us the enchanting Austenland – a trip to a fantasy vacation resort in England with a Regency theme. The heroine Jane Hayes gets a chance to live her “secret addiction to the 1995 A&E television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and all things Darcy.” It was a Janeite favorite. Now she is offering readers a chance to return to Pembroke Park for a new Regency inspired adventure with deep Austen overtones and a Gothic infused mystery to solve. Wouldn’t Austen’s heroine Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey be right at home in this novel? Here is the publisher’s description:

Beloved, bestselling author Shannon Hale returns to Austenland, where bonnets are in vogue and gentlemen can dance, where one might still find real love — and real murder!

In Midnight in Austenland, Shannon Hale takes us back to Pembrook Park, the lovely English resort where women can play out their Jane Austen fantasies. But this time things take a turn for the Gothic: a little Northanger Abbey infusing our Mansfield Park.

Charlotte Kinder of Ohio is consummately nice. Maybe too nice. Her teenage kids don’t appreciate her, and she lets her jerk ex-husband walk all over her. But she’s also clever. And when she treats herself to a two-week vacation in Austenland, it turns out that she’ll need her wits about her. With everyone at Pembrook Park playing a role, it can sometimes be difficult to discern what’s what. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is the mysterious ailment from which Miss Gardenside suffers? Could the body Charlotte discovers during a parlor game be an actual corpse? And – perhaps of the most lasting import – could the stirrings in the heart of our crime-solving heroine be a sign of real-life love?

The sequel to reader favorite Austenland provides all the perfectly plotted pleasures of the first book, with a feisty new heroine and plenty of fresh twists. There’s romance, there’s humor, there’s intrigue, and at last – just as it always happens in Austen – everything turns out right in the end.

No question that this will be one of the most anticipated novels for Janeites in the New Year.

Midnight in Austenland: A Novel, by Shannon Hale
Bloomsbury USA (3 January 2012)
Hardcover (288) pages
ISBN: 978-1608196258

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose  

Jane and the Prisoner of the Wool House: Being the Sixth Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron – A Review

Jane and the Prisoner of the Wool House, Being the Sixth Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron (2002)In the winter of 1807, we find Jane Austen in the seaport of Southampton living in hired lodgings while her brother Francis Austen’s new residence is made ready for them at Castle Square. The Austen women (Jane, sister Cassandra, their widowed mother and a dear family friend Martha Lloyd), will all be residing together under her brothers kind graces. He is at present a landlocked Royal Navy post captain anxiously awaiting his next assignment, and his first child.

News has reached Frank of a possible new ship, but the circumstances of its availability are a two edged sword. Its previous captain is a personal friend, Thomas Seagrave, who has been charged with violating the Articles of War by murdering an unarmed French captain during a siege. The prime witness to the assault is Seagrave’s first-lieutenant, Eustace Chessyre, an older officer who has been passed by many times for promotion. The case against Seagrave is “compelling in the extreme” and if he is court-martialed, he will hang. Frank would lose a fine friend, but gain in the assignment of his ship the frigate HMS Stella Marisand, and the possibility of fame and fortune.

Both Frank and Jane feel Seagrave is innocent and set out to discover the true killer. A prisoner from the seized ship held at the Wool House goal in Southampton may have the evidence to save his life. Jane’s skill at observation and deduction could save Seagrave from the gallows.

Barron supplies us with another enthralling case in the Jane Austen mystery series written from the famous authoresses perspective from her diaries that she has edited. It is all fiction mind you, but so convincing in its tone and historical detail that it reads like a true rediscovered journal in Austen’s own hand. In the previous novels Jane’s brothers Henry and Edward have assisted her ably in her detection of murder, but I must admit to being swayed with a “fine naval fervour.” Reveling in the time spent with her brother, post captain Francis “Fly” Austen and his Royal Navy world, I searched through my library for my C.S. Forester and Patrick O’Brian novels so I could continue the theme.

Even though the narrative got waylaid a few times in slow moving details, minor characters like self-absorbed Mrs. Seagrave and matter-of-fact Dr. Hill were interesting and finely drawn. Happily, wet blanket sister Cassandra was away in Kent staying at brother Edward’s estate Godmersham, so Mrs. Austen more than made up for any lack of Austen womanly opinions. She spends much of the story in her sickbed bordering on valetudinarian territory only breached by Austen’s own over-anxious parent Mr. Woodhouse from her novel Emma. I am awestruck by the prospect of five women cohabiting at Castle Square together in peace and harmony. Captain Austen must have been very relieved in April 1807 when he received his next ship, the HMS St. Albans, a third-rate ship of the line. He was back in the game, and out of the house!

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Jane and the Prisoner of the Wool House, Being the Sixth Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron
Bantam Books, New York (2002)
Mass Market paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-0553578409

This is my sixth selection in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011. You can still join the reading challenge in progress until July 1, 2011. Participants, please leave comments and or place links to your reviews on the official reading challenge page by following this link.

Grand Giveaway

Author Stephanie Barron has generously offered a signed hardcover copy of Jane and the Prisoner of the Wool House to one lucky winner. Leave a comment stating what intrigues you about this novel, or if you have read it, who your favorite character is by midnight PT, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Winner to be announced on Thursday, June 23, 2011. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway winner announced for Jane and the Genius of the Place

Jane and the Genius of the Place, by Stephanie Barron (1999)18 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of Jane and the Genius of the Place, by Stephanie Barron. The winner drawn at random is Penelope who left a comment on April 26th.

Congratulations Penelope! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by May 4th, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011. We are reading all eleven novels in this great Austen inspired mystery series this year. The challenge is open until July 1st, 2011, so please check out the details and sign up today!

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose