Posted in Historical, Loved It, Mystery, Uncategorized

Jane and the Waterloo Map

Author:     Stephanie Barron

Genre:      Mystery, cozy

Rating:    L

Synopsis

November, 1815. The Battle of Waterloo has come and gone, leaving the British economy in shreds; Henry Austen, high-flying banker, is about to declare bankruptcy—dragging several of his brothers down with him. The crisis destroys Henry’s health, and Jane flies to his London bedside, believing him to be dying. While she’s there, the chaplain to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent invites Jane to tour Carlton House, the Prince’s fabulous London home. The chaplain is a fan of Jane’s books, and during the tour he suggests she dedicate her next novel—Emma—to HRH, whom she despises.

However, before she can speak to HRH, Jane stumbles upon a body—sprawled on the carpet in the Regent’s library. The dying man, Colonel MacFarland, was a cavalry hero and a friend of Wellington’s. He utters a single failing phrase: “Waterloo map” . . . and Jane is on the hunt for a treasure of incalculable value and a killer of considerable cunning.

 

Opinion

It’s been far too long since Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas was published.  For those of you who don’t read a lot of Austen, one of her books, Emma was dedicated to the Prince Regent, a man Austen was known to dislike.  The beginning of this book explores how Jane ended up dedicating her book to this royal.  In this book we are introduced to the character James Stanier Clarke, who bears a passing resemblance to Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice (though by this point in the timeline, this book has already been published.) There were some interesting character developments in this book.  For starters, Jane seems to have replaced Lord Harold Trowbridge with her regard for Mr. Raphael West (who was introduced in the last book).  It’s really not surprising.  Both men possessed formidable intellects.  In addition, both men were secret agents.  Also, Jane’s niece Fanny plays a part in the investigation.  It seems as though Jane might actually have a real sidekick.  Although Jane was close to her sister, Cassandra wasn’t the sort to have the adventures with Jane.

The Waterloo Map.  I was really hoping that there was such an item that was lost in the antiquities of time.  Alas, it is not so!!!  But what a thought, that Napoleon might have concealed a treasure in Russia during his retreat.

I’m beginning to get a little bit sad with regards to this series.  About 4 of Jane’s novels have been published.  So that means we are getting nearer to her death, and nearer to the end of this series.

With regards to this book, I decided to read it quite slowly and savor it, particularly as it will be a while before the next book comes out. I did not figure out who dunnit until the very end.  I was pretty shocked actually.

This was a great read.  I loved it!

Advertisements
Posted in Mystery, Rated LI

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas

Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas

Author:     Stephanie Barron

Genre:     Mystery

Rating:     LI

Synopsis:

Jane Austen turns sleuth in this delightful murder mystery set over the twelve days of a Regency-Era Christmas party.

Christmas Eve, 1814: Jane Austen has been invited to spend the holiday with family and friends at The Vyne, the gorgeous ancestral home of the wealthy and politically prominent Chute family. As the year fades and friends begin to gather beneath the mistletoe for the twelve days of Christmas festivities, Jane and her circle are in a celebratory mood: Mansfield Park is selling nicely; Napoleon has been banished to Elba; British forces have seized Washington, DC; and on Christmas Eve, John Quincy Adams signs the Treaty of Ghent, which will end a war nobody in England really wanted.

Jane, however, discovers holiday cheer is fleeting. One of the Yuletide revelers dies in a tragic accident, which Jane immediately views with suspicion. If the accident was in fact murder, the killer is one of Jane’s fellow snow-bound guests. With clues scattered amidst cleverly crafted charades, dark secrets coming to light during parlor games, and old friendships returning to haunt the Christmas parties, whom can Jane trust to help her discover the truth and stop the killer from striking again?

Bluestocking’s Opinion:  One of the things that I really liked about this book, is the whole 12 days of Christmas concept.  I mean there is a song, but I really never thought about why there were 12 days of Christmas.  The author does give some background information about the fact that the 12 days of Christmas stems from the pagan feast Saturnalia.  Pagan-ness aside, I think we should totally go back to celebrating 12 days of Christmas.  In this country, at least, all people do is work and more work.  I think we need to get back to the good old days of actually taking time off.  Some of the role playing games sound really fun!

In this book, we got to meet Jane’s curate brother James and his wife Mary who definitely seems (according to the author’s perspective) to be the template for Mary Elliot Musgrove.  We also get to see Jane’s childhood home at Steventon.  From the description given, this wasn’t some little clap-trap house.  I’ve seen a couple of sketches online as to what the house used to look like.  It was quite sizeable!!  It’s too bad the house isn’t in existence now.

Well, the mystery itself was as good as ever.  The author did her usual job.  As usual, solving the mystery involved exploring the characters of the characters.  There were a few riddles that I got a kick out of trying to solve.  I didn’t figure out who had done it.  Not that this is suprising. Another excellent read by Stephanie Barron.

Oh!  you can download a reader’s guide in to creating a Jane Austen Christmas.  I wish I had purchased the book a couple of days before Christmas so that I could have tried some of the ideas.  Ah well!  There is next year!

Posted in Historical, Loved It, Mystery

A Flaw in the Blood

So Valentine’s Day wasn’t so bad this year after all.  I got back from the gym that night to discover a package from Random House waiting for me.  To say I was excited is that biggest understatement of the year.  I actually put off reading it till Friday night.  You know me I wouldn’t have gone to bed Thursday night, and I had court the next morning.  So now the review….
Most of you know Stephanie Barron as the author of the Jane Austen Mysteries.  However, she has departed from tradition and written a stand alone suspense novel about Queen Victoria.  I know all the history buffs are probably connecting the dots between the title and the character.  The book is an exploration into the 
Here is a picture of the package minus identifying info. 
speculation and innuendo historians have had about Queen Victoria for some time.
The book opens in 1861 at Windsor castle.  Patrick Fitzgerald, the barrister who defended Mr. Oxford (the man responsible for the first assassination attempt on Victoria), has been summoned to the castle accompanied by his ward, Dr. Georgina Armistead.  The Queen, half mad with anguish due to Prince Albert’s typhoid, wants Fitzgerald to sign a paper stating that the investigation he as part of his defense of Oxford was a fabrication of is “Irish” mind.  Fitzgerald refuses.  Prince Albert dies a few minutes after Fitzgerald quits the castle.  Several hours later, Fitzgerald and Armistead are violently attacked in the Queen’s coach.  Fitzgerald wonders was this a failed assassination attempt on the Queen…

I need to find the rest of this review.