Published by Lion Hudson, 2021.
Jane Austen Investigates, The Abbey Mystery is the first in a new historical detective series with a neat literary twist: our heroine is none other than a 13-year-old Jane Austen!
When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, Jane is sent to Southmoor Abbey for a week to be a companion to Lady Cromwell, 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 but it transpires that this isn’t the only strange occurrence for her to investigate…
The book is cleverly plotted and full of intrigue and suspense. There’s plenty of drama and excitement and I found it to be a real page-turner.
I loved how the tone and style of the book was in keeping with a Jane Austen novel; Julia Golding has brilliantly evoked late 18th century English society. There are also lots of lovely biographical details about Jane and her family. Another stylistic touch that I really liked were the clever letters which Jane writes to her sister Cassandra back home; she uses a different format each time, skilfully hinting at secrets.
The book has strong themes of friendship and loyalty, combined with a narrative centred around righting wrongs and fighting injustice. We also get an insight into life on a country estate with all its customs and routines. We witness the division between servants and the elite and get an idea of the rules governing this strict hierarchical society.
The Abbey Mystery is great fun and will delight existing Jane Austen fans while also introducing her world to a whole new generation of readers.
Suitable for children aged 8+
Thank you to Lion Hudson for sending me this book to review.