Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jane and the Man of the Cloth by Stephanie Barron

"Jane and her family are looking forward to a peaceful holiday in the seaside village of Lyme Regis. Yet on the outskirts of town an overturned carriage forces the shaken travelers to take refuge at a nearby manor house. And it is there that Jane meets the darkly forbidding yet strangely attractive Mr. Geoffrey Sidmouth. What murky secrets does the brooding Mr. Sidmouth seek to hide? Jane suspects the worst--but her attention is swiftly diverted when a man is discovered hanged from a makeshift gibbet by the sea. The worthies of Lyme are certain his death is the work of "the Reverend," the ringleader of the midnight smuggling trade whose identity is the town's paramount mystery. Now it falls to Jane to entrap and expose the notorious Reverend--even if the evidence points to the last person on earth she wants to suspect--a man who already may have won her heart."
(from the publisher)

my thoughts:

Jane and the Man of the Cloth (there's a play on words here) is a delightful cozy mystery from the very talented Stephanie Barron, with all the period details and manners of speech that you find in Jane Austen's writing. It's so very realistic in style and substance that I have to keep reminding myself that this is not actually written by Austen, nor is it an actual account of what happened to her during her lifetime! Barron does base her fictional mysteries on some authentic material gleaned from Austen's letters and known facts about her life, so this makes the stories seem as if they truly are a peek inside Jane's innermost thoughts and feelings in journal form. For anyone who enjoys Austen-inspired works written in true Austen style with mystery and adventure, the Jane Austen-as-sleuth collection is highly recommended. Barron creates Austen as a self-assured sleuth with wit and charm guaranteed to make you want to curl up with a cup of tea. I especially enjoyed this adventure with smugglers, contraband, midnight spying in secret caves, and Jane's tender hearted affection for a gentleman...or is he a rogue?

To read about the historical background and letters Barron used to create Jane and the Man of the Cloth, visit Stephanie Barron's website here.

This book completes the third book I've read for Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenge 2011 sponsored by Austenprose.

4/5 stars

Title: Jane and the Man of the Cloth
Author: Stephanie Barron
335 pages
genre: historical mystery


Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

Great review. I read the first two Jane Austen mysteries a few years back and enjoyed them. Like you, I was impressed at how close Barron's writing style came to Ms. Austen's herself.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

I like the concept. Pretty neat. I have never been a big Austen fan but this might actually be a way to get more, um, involved? Thanks for the review!

Joanne said...

Melissa and Pam -- Last year I met Stephanie Barron and she was such a nice person that it has motivated me to want to read more of her work.

Mystica said...

This is going on my TBR list.

Unknown said...

Great review, Joanne! So glad you're enjoying this series too. I have a real soft spot for the "man of the cloth" Jane encounters in this book too. :)

Joanne said...

Mystica - I hope you enjoy Barron's mysteries. You don't have to read them in order (she often recommends that readers start with this one instead of #l.)

Ruth - Yes, this one had a bittersweet edge (don't we all want Jane to find love?)

Staci said...

I'm so excited that you enjoyed this one so much. I want to read them for the Austen Mystery challenge and I'm really looking forward to it now!!

Joanne said...

Hi, Staci - The first one is a little slow, but #2 is thoroughly enjoyable, and I'm told they just get better and better. Enjoy!

Yvette said...

Great review, Joanne. I did try getting into this series a few years ago but just couldn't get with the program.

But maybe I'll take another look with this book. Sounds really good.

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