Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor By Stephanie Barron

In my attempt to complete my Jane Austen Spin-off Challenge 2012 I started to read Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor for my Jane Austen as the main character category. I still had two categories to finish, so it was a fail on the challenge, but in the process I read some really great books! So, that's a win!!

The story, Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor is an excellent mystery! It felt like Jane wrote the book herself! According to the Editor’s Foreword that’s what it is, manuscripts written by Jane Austen, and edited by Stephanie Barron. I do not know if this is true or part of the story, but I enjoyed the story immensely! 

After accepting and breaking a marriage proposal from Harris Bigg-Wither’s within a twenty-four hour period, Jane Austen accepts an invitation to visit her dear friend Isobel, Countess of Scargrave, at their country home Scargrave Manor. Newly married, her husband, the Earl is throwing a ball in her honor.  During the ball, the Earl becomes violently ill and dies at dawn the next morning. Isobel’s maid disappears shortly after and is found dead a few days later. Rumors of an affair between Isobel and Viscount Payne, the Earl’s nephew begin to circulate. Isobel and the Viscount are accused of the murders, and it all looks bleak indeed! Jane races against the clock to find the true murderer!

Isobel is sent to Newgate prison to await her trial before the Bar. Newgate is a horrible place to be, and although it is not the main focus, Barron doesn’t make light of it. Isobel is in despair there.

I loved how much Jane reminded me of Elizabeth Bennett. Another person, Lieutenant Hearst, a member of the Earl’s family had strong hints of Wickham and Frank Churchill. There are also well recognized Austen lines placed here and there along the story. I loved finding them!

I was at a loss as to guess whodunit, there are a cast of characters whom all would benefit from the Earl’s death! If you enjoy a good mystery and Jane Austen, this is the book for you!  With ghosts and murder, it has the feel of a gothic novel! 

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor is the first book of eleven Jane Austen mysteries by Stephanie Barron. Have you read any of them?

4 out of 5 stars.

I purchased my copy of Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor.

Buy a copy here.

Comments are alway welcome!


  1. I've read Barron's mystery about Jane and Lord Byron. U was fascinated by Lord Byron and Caroline Lamb. Jane was basically a second fiddle, but I really enjoyed the book.

    1. Hi Mary! I was going to read Jane and Lord Byron first too, but when I went to buy it I thought I would start with the first one...besides the fact the first one was on sale. ;)

  2. I hadn't heard of these books, they sound interesting. I quite like a bit of mystery. I can't often work out the culprit but it doesn't stop me enjoying them!

    1. Hi Ceri! I'm not big on mysteries, but I needed a story with Jane in it. I was really surprised how much I liked it! If you like mysteries I think you would really like this one!

  3. I love finding hidden Austen quotes in novels! It makes my reading so much more enjoyable! :) Thanks for the review, Candy!

    1. Hi Jakki! Me too! They are hidden gems! :)


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