It’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son’s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds – for she does not believe in such stories!
But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.
With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?
Mysteries, secrets, plot twists, and ghosts.
This book gave me the feel of an English afternoon tea, in a pretty, countryside garden during summertime. Nostalgic of my childhood Enid Blyton reads, with the twist of familiarity from Jane Austen, her life and works throughout the book.
The story is charming and engaging to read. You are caught up in trying to solve the mystery alongside Jane. Full of intrigue, events move at a swift pace and you are left completely satisfied with the outcome and ending.
Although set in 1789, Jane is portrayed as quite a forward-thinking girl and is an easy character to relate to. The balance between historical fiction and remaining relevant and understandable for modern readers is done incredibly well.
Touching on aspects of social hierarchy, women’s place in the world, rules, and etiquette of the time, this makes a good entry point for readers to learn about the era and society.
Aimed at younger readers (9+) I feel that older readers (teens and adults) can quite as easily enjoy this book.
I hope that this is the first in a series of ‘Jane Austen Investigates’ novels, I look forward to reading more.
Thank you to Lion Hudson for the advanced copy to review.
Julia Golding is a multi-award winning writer for adults and young adults. She is the founder of Project Northmoor, the campaign to save Tolkien’s home. She also writes under the pen names of Joss Stirling and Eve Edwards.
She is also a screenwriter, working on a number of feature and TV series concepts, featuring strong female leads.