The Abbey Mystery (Jane Austen Investigates #1). Julia Golding. 2021. [April] 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
First sentence: It had to be acknowledged that the life of a clergyman’s daughter in deepest rural Hampshire was disappointingly full of duties.
Premise/plot: Jane Austen, our heroine, is thirteen and spunky. In this, her first adventure, she goes to be a lady's companion to Lady Cromwell for a few weeks--as birthday celebrations are in high gear--and stumbles into her first (but presumably not last) mystery. Southmoor Abbey is rumored to be haunted; she first hears from her older brother who almost dares her to search out the ghost for herself. But it isn't a ghost--mad or not--that brings danger and excitement into her life: it is the master and mistress of the estate....
There are multiple mysteries to solve and lives do hang in the balance...though this is NOT a murder mystery.
My thoughts: I really loved this one. The novel opens in 1789 and stars the Austen family. If I use the word though, I don't mean it in a derogatory or condescending way... THOUGH it is a middle grade title and certainly appropriate for readers 9+ I think it holds appeal for readers of all ages. I enjoyed it as an adult. I could easily see myself enjoying it as preteen and teen. (Granted I loved HISTORICAL FICTION and reading in general.) Austen makes for a lively, spunky-quirky heroine. And THERE'S A DOG who plays a significant role in the story. In fact, would Austen have solved the mysteries WITHOUT the dog????? I'm not sure!
I think adults who have read all of Austen might enjoy this one especially.
“I think Henry [XIII] guilty of crimes and cruelties too many to mention,” agreed Jane–she had strong opinions about the monarchs of the land. “I believe he was a man of no religion and little can be said in his defence.” “Oh, bravo, Miss Austen. I wish you had the task of writing the history books. I admire plain speaking.” Jane decided that Annette was all right–like Fitzwilliam, Deepti, and Luke, rather than the Cromwells.
© 2021 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews