Title: the jane austen investigates: the abbey mystery.
AUTHOR: Julia Golding.
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade, Mystery.
PUBLICATION DATE: April 23rd, 2021.
Jane Austen turns detective in Julia Golding’s exciting new historical mystery series! Perfect for fans of Nancy Drew, Enola Holmes and Sally Lockhart.
1789. 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 adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are spooky 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 faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the obstacles to finding the truth?
Perfect for readers aged 9+, and for fans of Katherine Woodfine and Lucy Worsley.
Thanks to NetGalley and Lion Hudson Ltd for letting me read this book prior to its publication. My opinion is 100% honest, unbiased, and my own.
Of course, I’m not in the right demographics for this book, but I’m a die-hard fan of Jane Austen and all things related to Austen, so I had to read it. And I have to say it surprised me a lot. I was expecting something silly, oriented to kids, but I have loved the story and the way it is told. Without trying to be a biography of sorts, we see details of Jane Austen’s life woven in the story, so it doesn’t read academic and the readers can learn about Jane Austen in a subtle way. It was also kind of charming to see how some events and people were reminiscences of characters and novels by Austen.
So in the book we see a 13-years-old Jane Austen who is witty, clever, and has a certain tendency to sleuthing. So when she is sent to an Abbey and her brother challenges her to solve the mystery of the ghost of a monk who appears on the Abbey grounds, she is delighted to do so. One of my pet peeves in books is when we have a character who is a child, but the author gives them adult-like voices and personalities. We don’t see that here and I’m grateful for that. Jane Austen is a child and she behaves like a child.
While she gets to know the family, makes friends among the service staff, and tries to solve a couple of mysteries, the reader can learn bits of facts about Austen and the society she lived in. And again, it is done with subtlety and doesn’t feel or read like a textbook.
Overall, it is a great way to introduce children to the world of Jane Austen, and it was a joy to read a book that had zero pretences, like many others I have read, zero snobbery, and it was witty, fast-paced, and entertaining. My inner child has had a blast reading this book, and I would love to continue reading more books in this same fashion. If there are more to this series, count me in.
So, for all of that, I give this book… 4 TEA CUPS!