This is a short review. I like to keep mysteries mysterious!
What if Jane Austen was murdered, and didn't die from an unknown illness? How would it ever be proved, and who would be able to do it?
Meet Anne Sharp, close friend of Jane, and former governess to Jane's brother Edward and his wife Elizabeth's young children. Meeting Jane at Godmersham, Edward's estate, in 1805 began a firm friendship that was tested by suspicion and untimely deaths in the Austen family.
Starting 26 years after Jane's death, Anne begins to start putting the pieces together, remembering back to her time with the Austen family and what she saw--were her suspicions of Henry, Jane's brother, correct? How much does Jane know, or does she wish to remain oblivious to her brother's shenanigans? Does Anne dare to confide in Jane?
Oh, this mystery is quite entertaining. We think of Jane as a figure that everyone loves, but there may have been some who did not--in fact, they wished her dead. But why?
This novel was published in the UK and "sparked an international debate and uproar." What few facts are known about Jane's death are mysterious, indeed. You will read this and want to delve into biographies about Jane and her family--she had a sister and at least 3 brothers; many nieces and nephews, and so many friends and acquaintances. Lots of intrigue, forbidden love, and frustrations as clever, gifted women are left languishing on the side; unwed and deemed old maids by the age of 25.
Read this if you're a fan of Jane Austen--and even if you're not. Historical mystery lovers will enjoy this, too. It's smartly written and leaves you wondering....how did Jane die?
Rating: 7/10 for an interesting plot, characters that are well developed and complex, and an ending that leaves you eager to explore the world and life of Jane Austen.
Available in paperback and e-book.