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Friday, November 18, 2016

Jane and the Man of the Cloth - Stephanie Barron

This is the second of Barron’s Jane Austen mysteries, and we find Jane, her parents, and sister Cassandra off to take the sea air for the month of September in Lyme, which is where her novel Persuasion is partially set.   On the way, a storm overturns their carriage, injuring Cassandra, and forcing them to take refuge at a nearby manor, where Jane meets the darkly forbidding Geoffrey Sidmouth.

This is meant to be a sort of love story, and Sidmouth is probably a sort of proto-Darcy (the conceit of these books is that they’re a lost trove of Austen’s letters, so they’re meant to inform how she came up with ideas for her books.)    There’s also smuggling, and interesting society asides.    

It’s diverting – I’ll give it that.     And in some ways, the history and setting is well thought out.    In other ways (Jane going out at night just for the heck of it to see what the smugglers are doing), it’s a little far-fetched.     The anachronism was a bit strong at times.     Still, it was a diverting read.

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