JANE AUSTEN INVESTIGATES: THE ABBEY MYSTERY, by Julia Golding, Lion Fiction; New edition, April 23, 2021, Paperback, $10.99 (ages 9 and up)
A young Jane Austen sets out to solve a mysterious haunting in Julie Golding’s Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery.
It’s 1789 and a Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week 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 – for she does not believe in such stories!
But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.
With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth? — Synopsis provided by Lion Fiction
Jane Austen was known to be clever woman with a sense of curiosity and humor. It’s that whit that appeals to readers the world over. But her writing isn’t always accessible to younger readers. That’s where Julia Golding’s new series, Jane Austen Investigates, comes in.
In The Abbey Mystery, readers are exposed to societal norms of the time through a sort of Nancy Drew lens. Golding’s prose meets somewhere in the middle — with sophisticated phrasing that feels reachable to more modern sensibilities. Her tone is clear and concise, providing equal attention to both Jane’s surroundings and the action at hand.
Golding widens her audience by paying homage to the real Austen with nods to Northanger Abbey throughout. This, plus Golding’s depiction of the Austen family’s interactions as a whole, broadens this book/series’ appeal to fans of all ages.
The Abbey Mystery is a fast-paced read laced with humor throughout. I look forward to more books in this delightful series.
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