Book Review: Jane and the Genius of the Place

Jane and the Genius of the Place by Stephanie Barron
Jane and the Genius of the Place (Jane Austen Mysteries, #4)
by Stephanie Barron

3 out of 5 stars


Jane Austen is visiting her brother and sister-in-law at Godmersham Park, when a mysterious lady is murdered at the Canterbury Races. As Justice of the Peace, Jane’s brother, Edward, must investigate the murder, and Jane is all eagerness to help solve the puzzle.

I really liked this story and the history behind it. There is quite a lot of real history woven into the story with Jane’s family and her acquaintances, but of course the murder mystery and Jane’s involvement in the investigation are entirely fictional.

The best part of this book is the close look at Jane’s day to day interactions with her family, her nieces and nephews, and especially her sister Cassandra. It’s fun to imagine what their family dynamic might have been like. Continue reading

Classic Book Review: Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park
by Jane Austen

5 out of 5 stars

Fanny Price goes to live with her rich relatives, who make her feel inferior and criticize her. She befriends her cousin, Edmund, but is belittled by her cousins, Maria and Julia. When the Crawford siblings arrive as new neighbors, Maria and Julia compete for the attention of Mr. Henry Crawford, while Edmund gradually falls under the spell of the beautiful and wicked Miss Crawford. Only Fanny is undeceived by the Crawford’s pretty manners.

Marvelous story! Each time I reread it, I find something deeper in the story and the characters. But I always want to slap some sense into Edmund, until he realizes how delightful Fanny is.

Jane Austen’s writing never fails to amaze me. She has such a perceptive way of laying bare every thought and action of each character with exquisite insight into the little vexations and desires of human nature. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Jane Austen

Jane Austen by Claire Tomalin
Jane Austen: A Life 
by Claire Tomalin

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This biography of Jane Austen does a very thorough job of seizing on every letter, every mention, every tiny detail that can be gleaned about the famous author; unfortunately, that isn’t much. Jane’s sister, Cassandra, destroyed many of her letters after Jane’s death. Jane’s brothers and nephews and nieces didn’t preserve her letters as faithfully as they should have. The result is that there are few original writings left from one of the best-loved authors of all time, and little is known of her day to day life.

However, the author does a wonderful job of piecing together letters from cousins, diary entries of nieces and neighbors, along with the few portraits and tin-type photographs of her family and friends.
Continue reading