Book 10 Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor


Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor
by Stephanie Barron fulfilled the category “Free Book from my TBR list” for the PopSugar 2021 Reading
Challenge. This novel was gifted to me by my good friend, Rosemary. We are both
passionate for all things Jane Austen, but I have some work to do to catch up
with her.

A note before the review: I’m so sorry to do two Austen-esk books in a row. This was
not planned. I intended to do the “Locked Door Mystery” prompt for this week. I
diligently read through Nine Perfect Strangers. The title was on a
Goodreads list for this type of mystery. Let me just say with much anger and
disappointment, it is NOT a locked door mystery. Yes, there is a locked door,
but there are no murders, no wondering “who done it,” no intrigue. Nine
Perfect Strangers
is another example of a mediocre best seller. The plot
slogged, and the pacing was terrible. I was spitting angry after finishing a
400+ page book on Monday for Friday’s blog. Needless to say, I’ve been buried
in Scargrave Manor all week.

I also considered this story for the “Something I’m Passionate
About” category. It was a toss-up. I have so many free books from friends,
family, and the library. And I’m passionate about books. So really, any book
fits the “passionate” prompt.


Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor
is a cozy mystery with Jane Austen herself staring as our amateur detective.
The premise of these books is distant relatives of Austen found the manuscripts
in a coal cellar, dusted them off, and edited them for sale. I know a little of
Austen’s biography, and the book gels well with the bit I know. The writing
style, word choice, and sequence of events all sound very authentic to my
untrained ear. The author even included footnotes for the reader to explain
some vocabulary, cultural items, and other information that Jane would know,
but the reader might not. Even on audio, the footnotes were unobtrusive and

Stephanie Barron penned the title in 1995, but unlike
other older books I’ve
read recently (I’m looking at you, Elizabeth Peters and MC Beaton), the
material holds up. Being a historical cozy mystery, we are completely in 1802-3
for the duration of the novel. And some of the sexism, misogyny, and racism of
older books can be passed off as historical rather than anything cringey.

The style of the book sounded very Austen, and this
is probably only the second retelling of her stories that I have truly liked.
The author must have worked so hard to not only get the sound of Austen’s prose but the feel of her
personal writing. That alone makes this a wonderful story.

But for all those other Austen fans out there—Cozy
Mysteries with Jane herself! I can’t
think of a better selling point. Rosemary was kind enough to give me five of
the titles. So I have plenty of warm reading for the rest of this cold winter.
(I promise this should be the last Austen on the blog, though…)

The only problem I had with the story was knowing
there would not be a romance subplot. Jane never married and as far as we know,
didn’t have another
love interest after her refusal of marriage to Harris Biggs-Wither.

I give Jane
and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor
Four Carriage Rides around Hyde


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