Jane and the Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron is the 14th in the Jane Austen Mystery series and the first I've read. In Jane and the Year Without a Summer, Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra spend two weeks in the spa town of Cheltenham to take the waters as Jane's health is declining.
Most of the book reads very much like an Austen novel, with a large cast of characters interacting, some maybe with romance in mind, others with suspect motives.
Is the viscount who insists that the wife who ran away from him return to Cornwall trying to kill her for her fortune? Or is she simply desirous of her independence and the ability to live by her own means? When deaths begin to occur at the boarding house in which Jane and the viscountess are staying, Jane is determined to solve the mystery.
Highly recommended - While I admit to being a bit overwhelmed by the huge cast of characters, I loved the writing style and found the storyline suitably intriguing without being overly complex. Also, it was clear early on that the author had done her research. I stayed in a building on a site that was mentioned, which has one of London's infamous blue plaques (Hans Place) mentioning Jane Austen's stay. After reading this installment, I really want to go back to the beginning of the series and read them all. Reading Jane and the Year Without a Summer was definitely a learning experience and I want to know more!
My thanks to Soho Crime and Laurel of Austenprose for the review copy!
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