Review: Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor


Rating: 8/10

When I first came across this book, I was quite skeptical. After all, it was a murder mystery with Jane Austen as the main character. Could I really expect good writing and a well-crafted plot with the author so busy with writing from the perspective of a famous author?

Luckily my suspicions were unfounded. The novel turned out to be an interesting read-- the author did her best to write in Jane Austen's style. As I am not an expert I can't tell you how well she achieved that goal but I can say that it read more like a Jane Austen novel than your typical murder mystery series. The style was formal without the impersonal feel that historical novels have for me.

The premise was cute-- the novel is portrayed as a lost diary of Jane Austen, and there are editor notes to help you keep up with things such as titles (literally the most confusing thing ever) and land ownership and inheritances. What I didn't like what that the editor notes also extended to characters-- they drew parallels between certain characters in this novel and characters that Jane Austen created. The problem with this is that it completely colored the way I saw them. By calling someone a Darcy, for example, I know that while they might seem gruff/mean/cruel, they actually have good intentions-- and therefore ruins the suspense of 'are they one of the good guys'.

You can read the synopsis if you want on Goodreads, but I have an odd preference to read as little as possible about a book before I read it. I love being surprised by the plot-- sometimes a synopsis will give away all sorts of cool things that I would rather discover by reading. So, if you are like me here's what you need to know: it's a fun premise, well paced, and overall, a unique murder mystery novel.

Let me know: have you heard of this series before? How do you feel about novels that use historical people? Do they make you wary?

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