Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


****Jane and the Ghosts of Netley

Being a Jane Austen Mystery

by Stephanie Barron

Reviewed June 30, 2003.
Bantam Books, New York, 2003.  292 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (F BAR).
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #4, Mystery and Adventure

The more I read of them, the more I enjoy Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen mysteries.  The premise is that the author has discovered long-lost diaries of Jane Austen that detail a series of mysteries in which she was involved.  The result is completely delightful.

Jane and the Ghosts of Netley opens in 1808 in Southampton.  Jane notices lights on in the formerly uninhabited Netley Lodge, next to ruined Netley Abbey.  Soon after, Lord Harold Trowbridge, her friend the “Gentleman Rogue” summons her mysteriously and asks her to keep watch on the new tenant of Netley Lodge, a beautiful and mysterious woman, whom he believes to be spying for “the Monster,” Napoleon.

Circumstances arrange themselves for Jane to meet this woman, and it appears that Lord Harold may be right.  A large warship being built in the boatyard nearby is burned, and its builder is found with his throat cut.

This book ends up being something of an adventure and spy yarn, yet all set in the genteel world of Jane Austen.  The result is wonderfully absorbing, hard to put down, and great fun.  You don’t have to have read any of the previous books to enjoy this one.

Review of other Jane Austen Mysteries:
Jane and the Man of the Cloth
Jane and the Wandering Eye
Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House


Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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