Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron - A Review


Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron: Being A Jane Austen MysteryJane and the Madness of Lord Byron by Stephannie Barron is a multi-layered Regency mystery, and the sleuth is none other than Jane Austen. Following the death of Henry Austen’s wife, Eliza, Comtesse de Feuillide, Jane and her brother make arrangements to visit the seaside town of Brighton. However, their plans for a quiet interlude fall by the wayside when a stop at a posting inn results in Jane and Henry rescuing a young lady, Catherine Twining, from a forced elopement with the scandal-ridden Lord Byron. When the girl’s body is discovered a few days later, a drowning victim, who is sewn into a canvas shroud and deposited in the bed of Lord Byron, the poet becomes the prime murder suspect.

Jane, who had befriended the fifteen-year-old Twining, finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation, one that is thrown into greater confusion when Lady Caroline Lamb, the former and nearly mad lover of Lord Byron, puts in an appearance, as well as his current paramour, Lady Oxford. Jane’s investigation takes her to the residence of the Prince Regent. Is the prince or one of his associates involved or did Byron murder the girl who had rejected him?

This novel is interesting on so many levels. It is a tale so rich in Regency minutiae that it is like tapping into a mother lode of information, and Stephanie Barron is very clever in weaving these facts into her story so that you are seeing the beautiful clothes of the era, tasting the food, walking the streets of Brighton, and dancing to music in grand assembly rooms. But the most interesting scenes are those in which Caroline Lamb and Lord Byron are front and center. A conversation between the grieving Byron and his inquisitor, Jane Austen, is fascinating, and scenes of Lady Caroline’s growing mental instability are chilling.

If you are a fan of Regency-era novels and mysteries, then you are in for a treat because this book delivers for enthusiasts of both genres.

4 comments:

  1. Great review, Mary! I love it that both Jane and Byron are in the same novel, very nice.

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  2. This book is definitely going on my tbr list.
    I am most curious as to how Lord Byron's character will be portrayed. Add Jane Austen into the mix and a mystery to be solved and it sounds even more interesting.

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  3. Yay! I just ordered this one!I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  4. Thank you, Ladies. I don't usually read JA fiction b/c I write it, but this one was too intriguing to pass by. I'm glad that I didn't.

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