• Gemma

The Burglar's Ball by Julia Golding

Updated: Oct 22

The Burglar's Ball is the second instalment from Julia Golding in the Jane Austen Investigates series.

SYNOPSIS:

Jane Austen turns detective in Julia Golding’s exciting new historical series!


No one who had ever seen Jane Austen in her infancy would suppose her to be born to solve crimes. From her early love of sugar plums, and cleverness in hiding her expeditions into the pantry, her mother declared her far more likely to commit them. However, as Jane would counter, there was no better person to identify the culprit than the thief turned thief-catcher.’


When the headmistress invites her past favourite pupil to attend their end of term ball, Cassandra brings her younger sister, Jane, along too. Cassandra plunges into the feverish excitement of preparing for the biggest event of the year – the dresses, the dances and the boys expected from the neighbouring school.


Feeling rather excluded, sharp-witted Jane unearths the reason for the fuss – the headteacher wants to impress a rich family returned from India as the school is at risk of going bankrupt. Jane also befriends the dancing master’s assistant, a former slave, called Brandon, who is as quick to notice things as she. At the ball, a diamond necklace is stolen from a locked room and they are propelled into a race to uncover the burglar and save Brandon from gaol.


With the ever-present Austen spirit, Jane with notebook in hand, boldly overcomes the obstacles to finding the truth. Perfect for readers aged 9-109, and for fans of Katherine Woodfine and Lucy Worsley.


MY THOUGHTS:

Having really enjoyed the first book in the series I was very excited to receive a copy of The Burglar's Ball.

This book features our heroine Jane Austen and her trusted four-legged companion Grandison, who set off on another adventure and encounter a crime to solve. This time they are joined by Jane's sister Cassandra. Cassandra is invited to the end of year ball at Reading Abbey Girls' School which they both attended a few years ago. Cassandra is very eager to go and persuades Jane to go with her. What sways it for Jane is that her friend Deepti, who we met in the previous book, has moved to Reading and Jane is thrilled at the chance to see her again.


When Cassandra and Jane arrive at the school they soon realise that things have taken a bit of a downward turn for the school and their finances; there seems to be a limited number of staff and the place is looking a bit rundown. During the ball one of the girls' necklaces is stolen from her room which sparks an investigation. The police reveal that there have been a number of burglaries in the local area recently and this could be connected as the burglar is still at large. Jane's mind starts to go into overdrive at solving the case and also in clearing the name of Brandon, a young musician who has been accused of the crime.


This book was a joy to read and I loved the fun letters that feature throughout the book, where Jane is writing to her brother to update him on what is happening. These letters are playful and quirky often with the look of having been torn out of a notepad and written in a hurry. The combination of a mystery novel written from the historical period of 1789 works really well and gives it cosy feel. The book touches on African slavery and the point of view of Indian nationalist being monopolised by the British East India Company.


Many thanks to Fern Lindsay-Trolley at Lion Hudson Ltd for sending me this beautiful proof copy and to Julia Golding for writing another gorgeous middle grade novel that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

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