Publication Date: February 8, 2022
About the Author:
Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written twenty-five books, including five novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-Season, Death in Rough Water, Death in a Mood Indigo, Death in a Cold Hard Light, and Death on Nantucket) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the penname, Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.
When Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra go to Cheltenham to take the waters, they find that not all is as it seems in the little spa town. As the gray, cold summer rolls over England, an eccentric preacher predicts the end of the world, a trio of young ladies conceal their past, a debonair Captain pays his addresses, and an abandoned husband comes looking for a wife he does not seem to want. A dangerous fire at a masquerade leads to murder done. With wit, courage, and the help of her admirer Raphael West, Jane unravels the secrets surrounding her, only to realize that the secret nearest to her soul is the one she must conceal.
When I signed up for this blog tour, I was not aware that this was the fourteenth book in the Jane Austen Mysteries, a series I’ve never encountered before. In the initial chapters, I found it a little difficult to comprehend the backstory surrounding Jane’s family, but once she reached Cheltenham and met the cast of characters at the boarding house, it was smooth sailing. Cassandra with her outrageous love for gossip and Jane with her incisive wit and perspicacity both sparkle. The murder mystery rivals an Agatha Christie plot, and the unfolding of Jane’s personal life was believable and authentic. Recommended.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
“None of us may predict when warmth shall return. Useless to hope for crops or harvest, this year or the next. No blessed fruit or blushing flower–perhaps for the remainder of our days! But those shall be brief, and numbered in weeks. Repent, Miss Austen–Prepare. The end of all things is upon us.”Jane and the Year Without a Summer, by Stephanie Barron