Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
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*        = Good, with reservations


***Jane and the Man of the Cloth

Being the Second Jane Austen Mystery

by Stephanie Barron

Reviewed February 23, 2005.
Bantam Books, New York, 1997.  274 pages.

I read the first Jane Austen mystery by Stephanie Barron several years ago.  I took the series up again with the ones we have at Sembach Library.  Recently, a friend began reading the series and borrowed earlier books from Ramstein Library, so I decided to catch up on some of the books I’d missed.

Jane and the Man of the Cloth is the second book in the series.  The sleuth is Jane Austen, and the books are written as “discovered” journals of Jane Austen.  The author researched Jane’s life and letters, and she fits the adventures of the book into the framework of Jane Austen’s life.  She captures the flavor of life in England during the Napoleonic wars, though making Jane an intrepid heroine who perhaps goes further in the pursuit of truth than most ladies of her day.  Of course, that only adds to the fun.

In Jane and the Man of the Cloth, Jane and her family come to Lyme Regis, where Jane later sets her book Persuasion.  The trip begins with an accident to their coach and their arrival at a seemingly sinister and lonely farm on the coast, with a mysterious owner.  What follows includes smuggling and murder, with the perpetrators apparently being among Jane’s new friends.

I love this twist for lovers of Jane Austen’s books.  Stephanie Barron doesn’t try to rewrite Jane Austen’s wonderful books.  She writes in a completely different genre, but takes us back to Jane’s time and gives us a work in Jane’s style.  Quite delightful.

Review of other Jane Austen Mysteries:
Jane and the Wandering Eye
Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House
Jane and the Ghosts of Netley


Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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