Jane Austen Investigates: The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding
Jane Austen turns detective in this spooky historical adventure by award-winning author Julia Golding!
It’s 1789 and a young 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?
This book is perfect for readers aged 9+ and was such an enjoyable read. I adored Golding's The Tigers in the Tower so I knew I would fall in love with the Jane Austen Investigates series as well. Golding's writing flows beautifully from the pages. There is a great balance of description, dialogue, humor and plenty of action to keep the reader fully engaged. Golding's characters are the real star of her books and Jane Austen is the protagonist I craved to be as a child. She is gutsy, clever and bold. I love how Golding champions the less fortunate characters in her novels and her mix of Jane, Luke and Deepti was just perfect in this story. This book took me back to my own childhood when I thrived on reading The Secret Seven and The Famous Five.
The historical setting really heightened my enjoyment of the novel and I'm sure many children will also enjoy this element as well as broadening their knowledge of the past. There were a few red-herrings along the way as to who had stolen the horses and set the Library on fire which kept me guessing. I loved the addition of Grandison, Jane's dog! Every good sleuth needs a dog on the trail with them. The letters that Jane writes to her sister, that are included at the end of some chapters, are delightful and add an extra magical and somewhat humorous element to the novel. These were always an expected gem hidden within the pages. There was so much to love about this book from the setting, rich characters, and complex plot that will keep the readers gripped. This truly is a charming book and I very much look forward to reading the rest of the series and sharing this with my daughter when the time is right.
Many thanks to Fern Lindsay-Trolley at Lion Hudson Ltd for sending me this beautiful proof copy and to Julia Golding for writing a gorgeous middle grade novel that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Julia Golding is a multi-award winning writer for adults and young adults, including the Cat Royal series. Former British diplomat and Oxfam policy adviser, she has now published over fifty books in genres ranging from historical adventure to fantasy. She has a doctorate in English literature from Oxford. For Lion Children's, she has written The Curious Science Quest series, The Curious Crime and The Tigers in The Tower!