Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron

I read this book for the Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge. This is the first book in the series. When I first discovered this series over five years ago, I started with the fifth book since it was the one I found in the bookstore. This time I have started with the first and am glad of it.

When I first read these books, I had only read Jane Austen's novels and was unfamiliar with her life. This series lured me into reading about her life and her times in Regency England. I remember that I checked out a cookbook with Martha Lloyd's recipes (it even had a recipe for white soup!). I bought Jane Austen's letters edited by Dierdre LeFaye. I asked for a membership to the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) for Christmas (and got it!). I am so grateful for these novels because they returned a desire to learn to me at a time when my personal growth was stagnant (I had just finished my Master's and was in a groove of teaching the same literature in English I every year).

As regards this book in particular, I enjoyed the rediscovery that Jane had initially not liked Lord Harold Trowbridge. Since I have been read what was out five years ago and have only read the new ones as they have come out (and not reread any older ones), I am so used to the idea that Jane and Lord Harold are "friends." It was fun to remember her first suspicions and that I had suspected him of the murders the first time I read this novel.

When I finish one of these novels, I am amazed anew at Barron's word choice and mastery of Jane's style.

It has taken me a while to get this one read along with the other books I am reading for my various responsibilities, but I have this one finished and can't wait to start my second one. My goal is to read one a month from now on.

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