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Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron

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The restorative power of the ocean brings Jane Austen and her beloved brother Henry, to Brighton after Henry’s wife is lost to a long illness. But the crowded, glittering resort is far from peaceful, especially when the lifeless body of a beautiful young society miss is discovered in the bedchamber of none other than George Gordon—otherwise known as Lord Byron. As a poet a The restorative power of the ocean brings Jane Austen and her beloved brother Henry, to Brighton after Henry’s wife is lost to a long illness. But the crowded, glittering resort is far from peaceful, especially when the lifeless body of a beautiful young society miss is discovered in the bedchamber of none other than George Gordon—otherwise known as Lord Byron. As a poet and a seducer of women, Byron has carved out a shocking reputation for himself—but no one would ever accuse him of being capable of murder. Now it falls to Jane to pursue this puzzling investigation and discover just how “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” Byron truly is. And she must do so without falling victim to the charming versifier’s legendary charisma, lest she, too, become a cautionary example for the ages.


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The restorative power of the ocean brings Jane Austen and her beloved brother Henry, to Brighton after Henry’s wife is lost to a long illness. But the crowded, glittering resort is far from peaceful, especially when the lifeless body of a beautiful young society miss is discovered in the bedchamber of none other than George Gordon—otherwise known as Lord Byron. As a poet a The restorative power of the ocean brings Jane Austen and her beloved brother Henry, to Brighton after Henry’s wife is lost to a long illness. But the crowded, glittering resort is far from peaceful, especially when the lifeless body of a beautiful young society miss is discovered in the bedchamber of none other than George Gordon—otherwise known as Lord Byron. As a poet and a seducer of women, Byron has carved out a shocking reputation for himself—but no one would ever accuse him of being capable of murder. Now it falls to Jane to pursue this puzzling investigation and discover just how “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” Byron truly is. And she must do so without falling victim to the charming versifier’s legendary charisma, lest she, too, become a cautionary example for the ages.

30 review for Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron

  1. 4 out of 5

    karen

    this was not intended to be a DBR, but know that it is hot, and i am drinking these incredibly girly "green apple bite" smirnoff ices. many of them. ice cold and delicious.so my plan is to lucidly elucidate why me and this book didn't get along, but it might take me a while to collect my thoughts as i sit here and pound these things, so who knows what will happen by the end of it all. we may indeed get a little D. i honestly don't know who this series is for. austen fans seem to love them. not aus this was not intended to be a DBR, but know that it is hot, and i am drinking these incredibly girly "green apple bite" smirnoff ices. many of them. ice cold and delicious.so my plan is to lucidly elucidate why me and this book didn't get along, but it might take me a while to collect my thoughts as i sit here and pound these things, so who knows what will happen by the end of it all. we may indeed get a little D. i honestly don't know who this series is for. austen fans seem to love them. not austen fans like elizabeth, who refused to read this with me, but the reviews on here are sky-high. and i have snooped around a little and the people seem to be pleased with the authenticity of "austen's" voice, and the thrill of feeling like you are getting to read an all new book by jane austen. me, i am not a fan of jane austen, so i neither love the voice of the story, nor am i in a position to gauge its authenticity. i don't hate jane austen, i am even worse - i am someone who is indifferent. that's worse, right?? because she should be able to inspire passion, one way or another.but frankly, i just don't give a damn. the style seems austenlike, in that it was kind of boring, and there is a lot about ratafia and nuncheons and she spells sofa with a "ph". here is the first sentence: Mr. Wordsworth or Sir Walter Scott should never struggle, as i do, to describe Spring in Chawton: the delight of slipping on one's bonnet, in the fresh, new hour before breakfast, and securing about one's shoulders the faded pelisse of jaconet that has served one so nobly for countless Aprils past; of walking alone into the morning, as birsdsongs and tugging breezes swell about one's head; of the catch in one's throat at the glimpse of the fox, hurrying home to her kits waiting curled and warm in the den beneath the park's great oaks. OH MY GOD WHEN WILL SOMEONE GET MURDERED ALREADY? i read this because i am a fan of byron, and i was in preparation to read the all "new" reissue of what they say is the best biography of him ever. thank you, melville house, thank you charles. in the past, i have read about byron as a (literal) vampire, byron as villain, byron as victim, byron as ghost-maker. it was time to read about byron as murder suspect. but stephanie barron doesn't really care about byron. byron is a prop to her. in the author's Q&A at the back, she says "some of the books are so faithful to jane's letters that i've used the actual calendar of her week as the structure of the novel - and included everyone she mentions as a character." well, that's great, right?? did she show the same care with the real-life person of byron?? not so much. he never met jane austen. he never hogtied and kidnapped a fifteen year old girl with the goal of a forced marriage. he was never a murder suspect. does that matter?? i guess not, as long as the dresses are described in all their details. sigh. i am pleased about one thing here - she did not take the route that gives caroline lamb the role of "girl driven mad by byron." dear caro was a trainwreck well before she and byron met - therein lay the attraction. but implying that byron was"not mentally healthy" is reductive. he was by no means a paragon of gentlemanly behavior, but who would be, in his position? having flipped through the last living slut while shelving last week and i learned that many men who are in "rock star" positions behave in a less than admirable way, particularly towards the women waiting outside their houses for them. byron really was the first rock star - his kind of fame and its range was unprecedented. women unknown to him dressed themselves like him, mailed him letters and jewelry and... hair clippings. this is no place for jane austen. to the fainting chair!! (holy shit - one of these bottles in the six-pack was "raspberry burst" and not apple. i thought my mouth was going crazy until i read the label. phew.) i did appreciate the attempt though. i kind of wish that instead of murder suspect, byron and jane teamed up and solved crimes together. that would be even more absurd, but in a jolly good time way. incidentally, it is perfectly fine to read this one, the tenth on the series, without having read any earlier works. there are plenty of footnotes which address earlier cases that jane austen has solved, as well as points of interest to the real jane austen and history in general. but not byron. who cares about that lunatic?? come to my blog!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Stephanie Barron’s cozy mystery series features real-life author Jane Austen as a fiery champion of justice, and Barron makes the stories totally believable. In this, the 10th in this series, Jane repairs to Brighton with her grieving brother Henry after the lingering death of Henry’s wife, the gay Eliza. At that time, Brighton was the fashionable watering hole favored by the corpulent, immoral Prince of Wales, eventually to become King George IV, and patronized by everyone who was anyone. And t Stephanie Barron’s cozy mystery series features real-life author Jane Austen as a fiery champion of justice, and Barron makes the stories totally believable. In this, the 10th in this series, Jane repairs to Brighton with her grieving brother Henry after the lingering death of Henry’s wife, the gay Eliza. At that time, Brighton was the fashionable watering hole favored by the corpulent, immoral Prince of Wales, eventually to become King George IV, and patronized by everyone who was anyone. And that includes the handsome, mesmerizing George Gordon, Lord Byron, and a bevy of his female admirers. While there, a 15-year-old girl with whom Jane was barely acquainted is murdered, and friends of Jane prevail upon her to look into the matter. As always, Barron includes lots of historical tidbits without slowing down the action. Newcomers will have no problem following the novel, and longtime fans will find their loyalty rewarded.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    One thinks of Jane Austen as a retiring spinster who writes secretly, prefers her privacy and enjoys quiet walks in the Hampshire countryside. Instead, she has applied her intuitive skills of astute observation and deductive reasoning to solve crime in Stephanie Barron’s Austen inspired mystery series. It is an ingenious paradox that would make even Gilbert and Sullivan green with envy. The perfect pairing of the unlikely with the obvious that happens occasionally in great fiction by authors cle One thinks of Jane Austen as a retiring spinster who writes secretly, prefers her privacy and enjoys quiet walks in the Hampshire countryside. Instead, she has applied her intuitive skills of astute observation and deductive reasoning to solve crime in Stephanie Barron’s Austen inspired mystery series. It is an ingenious paradox that would make even Gilbert and Sullivan green with envy. The perfect pairing of the unlikely with the obvious that happens occasionally in great fiction by authors clever enough to pick up on the connection and run with it. Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron marks Stephanie Barron’s tenth novel in the best-selling Jane Austen Mystery series. For fourteen years, and to much acclaim, she has channeled our Jane beyond her quiet family circle into sleuthing adventures with lords, ladies and murderers. Cleverly crafted, this historical detective series incorporates actual events from Jane Austen’s life with historical facts from her time all woven together into mysteries that of course, only our brilliant Jane can solve. It is the spring of 1813. Jane is home at Chawton Cottage “pondering the thorny question of Henry Crawford” in her new novel Mansfield Park and glowing in the recent favorable reception of Pride and Prejudice. Bad news calls her to London where her brother Henry’s wife Eliza, the Comtesse de Feuillde, is gravely ill. With her passing, Jane and Henry decide to seek the solace and restorative powers of the seaside selecting Brighton, “the most breathtaking and outrageous resort of the present age” for a holiday excursion. At a coaching Inn along the way they rescue Catherine Twining, a young society Miss found bound and gagged in the coach of George Gordon, the 6th Baron of Byron, aka Lord Byron, the notorious mad, bad and dangerous to know poet. Miffed by their thwart of her abduction, Byron regretfully surrenders his prize to Jane and Henry who return her to her father General Twining in Brighton. He is furious and quick to fault his fifteen year-old daughter. Jane and Henry are appalled at his temper and concerned for her welfare. Settled into a suite of rooms at the luxurious Castle Inn, Jane and Henry enjoy walks on the Promenade, fine dining on lobster patties and champagne at Donaldson’s and a trip to the local circulating library where Jane is curious to see how often the “Fashionables of Brighton” solicit the privilege of reading Pride and Prejudice! Even though Jane loathes the dissipated Prince Regent, she and Henry attend a party at his opulent home the Marine Pavilion. In the crush of the soirée, Jane again rescues Miss Twining from another seducer. Later at an Assembly dance attended by much of Brighton’s bon ton, Lord Byron reappears stalked by his spurned amour, “the mad as Bedlam” Lady Caroline Lamb. Even though the room is filled with beautiful ladies he only has eyes for Miss Twining and aggressively pursues her. The next morning, Jane and Henry are shocked to learn that the lifeless body of a young lady found in Byron’s bed was their naïve new friend Miss Catherine Twining! The facts against Byron are very incriminating. Curiously, the intemperate poet is nowhere to be found and all of Brighton ready to condemn him. 'Henry grasped my arm and turned me firmly back along the way we had come. "Jane," he said bracingly, "we require a revival of your formidable spirit – one I have not seen in nearly two years. You must take up the rȏle of Divine Fury. You must penetrate this killer’s motives, and expose him to the world.”’ page 119 And so the game is afoot and the investigation begins… It is great to have Jane Austen, Detective back on the case and in peak form. Fans of the series will be captivated by her skill at unraveling the crime, and the unindoctrinated totally charmed. The mystery was detailed and quite intriguing, swimming in red herrings and gossipy supposition. Pairing the nefarious Lord Byron with our impertinent parson’s daughter was just so delightfully “sick and wicked.” Their scenes together were the most memorable and I was pleased to see our outspoken Jane give as good as she got, and then some. Readers who enjoy a good parody and want to take this couple one step further should investigate their vampire version in Jane Bites Back. Barron continues to prove that she is an Incomparable, the most accomplished writer in the genre today rivaling Georgette Heyer in Regency history and Austen in her own backyard. Happily readers will not have to wait another four years for the next novel in the series. Bantam is publishing Jane and the Canterbury Tale next year with a firm commitment of more to follow. Huzzah! Laurel Ann, Austenprose

  4. 4 out of 5

    L.E. Fidler

    this was a total impulse "purchase" at the library. seconds away from checkout, this wee paperback called to me from the new releases. it seemed a perfect blend of all things i like: jane austen, murder mysteries, and oversexed romantic poets. how could it miss?!? it missed, most obviously, by slavishly developing the historical elements rather than the characters. in fact, by page 50, if she had dropped the words "jaconet" or "salad days" or "publickly" one more time, i was tempted to put the bo this was a total impulse "purchase" at the library. seconds away from checkout, this wee paperback called to me from the new releases. it seemed a perfect blend of all things i like: jane austen, murder mysteries, and oversexed romantic poets. how could it miss?!? it missed, most obviously, by slavishly developing the historical elements rather than the characters. in fact, by page 50, if she had dropped the words "jaconet" or "salad days" or "publickly" one more time, i was tempted to put the book down. we get it; it's regency. women wear muslin! men wear pantaloons! focus on making jane more dimensional instead of fixating on setting or dress, please,and you'll have yourself a better series. and, yes, i "get" that barron is trying to follow the style of austen's novels, and talking about who's who and what they're all wearing is part and parcel of that. but when i picked up this book, i had hoped that it would be a clear deviation from the factual. think: jane austen as a regency nancy drew! unless jane encountered many a dead body in her day, i don't think it should be that hard to do. but going back and forth between adhering staunchly to the historical fact and then dallying in the fantasy is confusing and clunky. i dare say i do not much care for it. the mystery here is fairly blah. the victim is pretty easy to pick out of the early line-up of folks, the murderer even more so, and byron is a deliciously skeevy drunkard. everyone else is sort of interchangeable. the reason jane austen's novels are so popular isn't because they defy predictability or because they solely revolve around character development. austen wrote with a quick wit and a deft hand, and those two traits are difficult to emulate by anyone at any time. when austen wrote about style and fashion, it was to make a comment on her own society. when she added a character, it was to provide a clear service to the text. barron's attempts at mimicry fall painfully short and remind me of fan fiction. i'll still read the other 10, though.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lollyletsgo

    Whilst the mystery was intriguing, I found the personalities therein most interesting. I had no idea of the level of eccentricities of some of the women- usually, it's the men portrayed as "mad". And to find a female with- I'm guessing undiagnosed bipolar issues and a depraved narcissist with poor impulse control "anti-hero". What more amazing is the safety net of individuals who would ignore the behavior because of the "genius" of the man, or to whom she is married. It makes one wonder what hor Whilst the mystery was intriguing, I found the personalities therein most interesting. I had no idea of the level of eccentricities of some of the women- usually, it's the men portrayed as "mad". And to find a female with- I'm guessing undiagnosed bipolar issues and a depraved narcissist with poor impulse control "anti-hero". What more amazing is the safety net of individuals who would ignore the behavior because of the "genius" of the man, or to whom she is married. It makes one wonder what horrible future lay ahead for someone without genius or wealth at that time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I should have expected some sordidness based on the title, but it is still a bit of a drawback for me. Some of the dialog is crude, so be aware, if that sort of thing bothers you. The worst part is that I'm still not sure if I understand who did it. Maybe I'm just dense but it didn't make sense the way it was revealed. I mean I think I know how it went, but was it really what happened or is it because (view spoiler)[Byron put a pistol to the General's head and made him write a confession. Was it I should have expected some sordidness based on the title, but it is still a bit of a drawback for me. Some of the dialog is crude, so be aware, if that sort of thing bothers you. The worst part is that I'm still not sure if I understand who did it. Maybe I'm just dense but it didn't make sense the way it was revealed. I mean I think I know how it went, but was it really what happened or is it because (view spoiler)[Byron put a pistol to the General's head and made him write a confession. Was it really a confession or was it a fake confession? (hide spoiler)] A few things that made Jane question certain character's motives and made her doubt that they would have committed the crime, or made her suspect them, weren't really explained away in the end. Plus, (view spoiler)[no points for having the most obvious character actually do it. (hide spoiler)] Not my favorite of the books, but at least it is far less political and yawn-worthy than the one before it, "Jane and the Barque of Frailty." This one is more like one of the better ones, "Jane and the Man of the Cloth" or even "Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House." At some point these books got a bit too tied down with the time setting and didn't have enough intrigue and suspense. I'm glad to see Jane teaming up with other characters now that (view spoiler)[ Lord Harold is gone. (hide spoiler)]

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    It's been eons since I picked up a novel in the Jane Austen Mysteries. I generally am not a fan of the first-person narrative but I liked the epistolary style used in the storytelling. The mystery is unveiled through Jane's eyes and recounted by her. The novel does spend half of it setting up the mystery introducing the characters and the other half dealing with the actual mystery. The one thing I don't like is the passiveness of the narrative. While we may be in the first person, the story resid It's been eons since I picked up a novel in the Jane Austen Mysteries. I generally am not a fan of the first-person narrative but I liked the epistolary style used in the storytelling. The mystery is unveiled through Jane's eyes and recounted by her. The novel does spend half of it setting up the mystery introducing the characters and the other half dealing with the actual mystery. The one thing I don't like is the passiveness of the narrative. While we may be in the first person, the story resides primarily in Jane's thoughts or recounting of the recounting of others. In that respect, I wasn't too thrilled about being a completely passive reader at the mercy of what is doled out to me. I realize all mysteries are like that but they aren't so obvious about it as this one was (or at least to me). After reading a lot of mysteries and period novels, it was kind of obvious where the investigation was going though not necessarily what was going to happen. The characters were more stereotypical rather than fully developed complex characters. I enjoyed the novelty of the writing style and it did read fast. I'm not sure if I will pick up another one in this series or re-visit an old one I read eons ago.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Talia

    I gave this 3 stars for the story and bumped it up one more because I enjoyed the writing so much.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    "Let it be the taffeta, my dearest Jane." 😊 "Let it be the taffeta, my dearest Jane." 😊

  10. 5 out of 5

    solaret

    Pride and Prejudice is the only pure romance that I love. I've read Pride and Prejudice several times, ever since my high school teacher assigned it for a homework assignment. (The guys in the class were appropriately horrified, of course.) Lord of the Dead was also a book that I deeply enjoyed reading. It is, as indicated by the title, a recasting of Lord Byron in the role of a vampire. Filled with exotic climes and debauchery, I found the Byron depicted by Tom Holland decidedly appealing. So w Pride and Prejudice is the only pure romance that I love. I've read Pride and Prejudice several times, ever since my high school teacher assigned it for a homework assignment. (The guys in the class were appropriately horrified, of course.) Lord of the Dead was also a book that I deeply enjoyed reading. It is, as indicated by the title, a recasting of Lord Byron in the role of a vampire. Filled with exotic climes and debauchery, I found the Byron depicted by Tom Holland decidedly appealing. So when I caught a glimpse of Jane Austen and Byron placed together in this book, well... it should have been incredible. There's something odd about trying to mix the two people. Lord Byron is known for being a dark, mysterious poet; Jane Austen more for romance and light-hearted comedy. So while a great author might be able to mix these together into an wonderful book, Stephanie Barron doesn't quite pull it off. There's interludes of Byron, who comes off as a quintessential "bad boy" whose true personality is never pinned down though he seems to be pretending to be a tortured poet more than he actually is one, and then there's Jane, whose practicality and interest in society makes a weird contrast. It's like reading two books, almost - one is a thriller/mystery story and the other is about Austen's court scandals and dresses. Speaking of which, how often does the actual Jane Austen reference fashion in her books, unless it was to make a point? I realize that Austen's life must have been meticulously researched, since it says so in the editor's footnotes, but there's entirely too much about dresses in Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron. For something else to nitpick at, there's Byron's early reference to Austen as being a greater writer than himself. That's... no. No. I can't imagine that the actual Byron would ever think such a thing, and even Stephanie Barron's Byron is otherwise too arrogant to say such a thing. Yet his admission of her as the better writer is just tossed in there, and nothing ever actually happens! It seems as though this part was just tossed in to flatter the heroine. Good grief, they don't even write in the same genres! Anyway, I found this part wildly improbable and, though it was such a small part, detracting from my enjoyment of the rest of the novel. However, I realize that my criticism of the mentions of fashion and Lord Byron's one, easily edited out portion calling Jane a better writer are small things to complain about. So here's something more important. The fictional Jane Austen is fairly useless. Yes, she was a woman during a time when women (especially ones of her status) had little leverage. But still, she did almost nothing to advance the investigation. Desdemona, Countess of Swithin (who is also Austen's dead lover's niece? I haven't read the preceding books in the series); the Count of Swithin, Mona's (short for Desdemona) husband; and Austen's brother Henry are the ones who actually do things in the story. Mona is the one who pressures Jane into taking on the investigation and the one who drags her around to talk to female witnesses/suspects and Henry is the one who talks to the male witnesses/suspects. Jane just moves along until the final piece of evidence gets dropped into her lap, and she figures it out with her super literary skills. No, really, that's how she solves the case. It's an entertaining, quick read, but unsatisfying when you reach the end. And Byron barely even shows up - I think he only appears in four scenes, at most.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    The latest entry in Stephanie Barron's entertaining Jane Austen murder mysteries series is, frankly, the best yet. In this tale, Miss Austen and her recently widowed brother are on their way to Brighton when they rescue a Miss Caroline Twining from abduction at the hands of George Gordon, Lord Byron. The plot thickens when, shortly after the Austens' arrival in the seaside town, Miss Twining's drowned corpse is found in Lord Byron's bed. Byron is arrested for the murder, declaiming his innocence The latest entry in Stephanie Barron's entertaining Jane Austen murder mysteries series is, frankly, the best yet. In this tale, Miss Austen and her recently widowed brother are on their way to Brighton when they rescue a Miss Caroline Twining from abduction at the hands of George Gordon, Lord Byron. The plot thickens when, shortly after the Austens' arrival in the seaside town, Miss Twining's drowned corpse is found in Lord Byron's bed. Byron is arrested for the murder, declaiming his innocence to anyone who will listen. Jane cannot resist investigating the murder, with help from her new friend the Countess of Swithin and even servants from the Brighton lodgings. Naturally, she eventually comes to the correct conclusion. Written as though Jane Austen were annotating her diary, the novel is rife with outstanding Regency imagery and situations. Editors' notes explain unusual period terminology or events, and render the book educational as well. Highly recommended for fans of Regency novels in general, and mysteries in particular.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Merand

    Excellent! This latest offering in the Jane Austen mystery series was well written, highly entertaining, and kept me guessing. I have read all of the books in this series and have highly enjoyed it and would recommend it. The first couple of books are a bit on the quiet side but once you get caught up in the series and the recurring characters, you can't help but be sucked in. I think Madness had an even more engrossing mystery than usual, not to mention Jane's brother Henry is greatly involved, Excellent! This latest offering in the Jane Austen mystery series was well written, highly entertaining, and kept me guessing. I have read all of the books in this series and have highly enjoyed it and would recommend it. The first couple of books are a bit on the quiet side but once you get caught up in the series and the recurring characters, you can't help but be sucked in. I think Madness had an even more engrossing mystery than usual, not to mention Jane's brother Henry is greatly involved, which is always fun, and a reappearance from an excellent character from Jane's past. I am always intrigued by the lifestyles of the wealthy, highborn, royal classes of England and this story has lots of scandal to fill the pages with intrigue. In this way, I find it similar to Lauren Willig's entertaining Pink Carnation series which are set in similar times. Knowing that Jane Austen's life is drawing near to its end, I'm glad to read that yet another Jane mystery will be written and I'll look forward to more time with this excellent fictional Jane.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan in NC

    It had been awhile since I read this author - I think she wrote at least one stand-alone book since the last entry in this series. I've read all of the "Jane" mysteries and am glad Barron is working on the next installment; being both a Jane Austen lover and a mystery buff, I find the combination irresistible! Especially when handled so expertly - Barron really captures the dry, witty tone of Jane Austen's works, but she writes from Jane's self-deprecating POV, and it's fun to read her imaginary It had been awhile since I read this author - I think she wrote at least one stand-alone book since the last entry in this series. I've read all of the "Jane" mysteries and am glad Barron is working on the next installment; being both a Jane Austen lover and a mystery buff, I find the combination irresistible! Especially when handled so expertly - Barron really captures the dry, witty tone of Jane Austen's works, but she writes from Jane's self-deprecating POV, and it's fun to read her imaginary musings over her writing, friends and family. Barron also manages to weave an interesting (if not always terrifically complicated) mystery into each book, which is really just icing on the cake; for Austen fans, in a market awash with copies and rip-offs of everything from her characters to her plots, this author gets it right. I would recommend these books to any Austen or historical mystery fan, but would suggest you start from the beginning of the series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I confess to reading all the books in this series except the newest. They are definitely a guilty pleasure. Come on, we all know a series which places Jane Austen as a bystander detective, much like Miss Marple, sounds gimmicky and a bit silly. However, I'm hooked. Unlike other contemporary novels written as sequels to an Austen's novels, or revolving around her fictional characters or the countless time travel, mix ups where a contemporary Austen fan finds herself in Regency England this series I confess to reading all the books in this series except the newest. They are definitely a guilty pleasure. Come on, we all know a series which places Jane Austen as a bystander detective, much like Miss Marple, sounds gimmicky and a bit silly. However, I'm hooked. Unlike other contemporary novels written as sequels to an Austen's novels, or revolving around her fictional characters or the countless time travel, mix ups where a contemporary Austen fan finds herself in Regency England this series of Stephanie Barron's is so well researched. Her writing style is perfectly believable as Jane Austen and Barron's Jane behaves much like a woman in that era would behave. She does not place our modern day values and sensibilities on her characters. Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron may not be my favorite in the series as far as the mystery goes but it was enjoyable, the new characters were fun to get to know and the bad guy got it in the end.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    This entire series is FAB! The ultimate reading for mystery readers who also adore Jane Austen and history. Barron entwines Jane in mysteries set in the exact location where Jane was at that time. Each mystery 'could' have occurred. The research into Jane's personal life, rules and habits of the time, real locations at that time, etc, make these books so realistic, and so enjoyable. Jane comes to life and showcases her superb mental faculties in these books. Read them ALL--and in order!!! I'm re- This entire series is FAB! The ultimate reading for mystery readers who also adore Jane Austen and history. Barron entwines Jane in mysteries set in the exact location where Jane was at that time. Each mystery 'could' have occurred. The research into Jane's personal life, rules and habits of the time, real locations at that time, etc, make these books so realistic, and so enjoyable. Jane comes to life and showcases her superb mental faculties in these books. Read them ALL--and in order!!! I'm re-reading them again after a couple of years and it's just as enjoyable--almost more enjoyable than in the first reading. Pull up Google Maps while reading and zoom in on the real landscape, buildings, and cities. Much of where she lived and visited is still there--again one of the pleasures of the books, fitting into reality of Jane's life and time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    If you can believe Jane Austen might visit Brighton with her brother Henry, and she might meet Lord Byron, mad bad and dangerous to know, than you would enjoy this mystery/social novel of 1811. The Regent has brought his friends to his Pavillion to gamble and carouse and the fashionable set are there as well. Jane runs into Mona, Countess of Swithin, an old friend who knows Caro Lamb, Byron and others. It was great fun to read. Byron's poem Le Giaour provides part of the plot and Byron helps Ja If you can believe Jane Austen might visit Brighton with her brother Henry, and she might meet Lord Byron, mad bad and dangerous to know, than you would enjoy this mystery/social novel of 1811. The Regent has brought his friends to his Pavillion to gamble and carouse and the fashionable set are there as well. Jane runs into Mona, Countess of Swithin, an old friend who knows Caro Lamb, Byron and others. It was great fun to read. Byron's poem Le Giaour provides part of the plot and Byron helps Jane solve a murder.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    This is one of Stephanie Barron's best books in this series. This is one of Stephanie Barron's best books in this series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Beth Levitt

    Ah Stephanie Barron never disappoints. Another excellent read that feels so like an Austen novel but with more excitement. Highly recommend this series.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maj

    In the Q&A featured at the end of the book, Stephanie Barron admits this book is entirely an invention (as far as we know Jane Austen never visited Brighton), giving us a meeting between two of Britain's most famous authors. Though, this book's version of Byron entirely correctly calls Miss Austen the superior writer. Good. It's one of Barron's most detectiv-y novels, it even features a LIST of questions for Jane to get the answers to before she can discover the identity of the murderer. It's als In the Q&A featured at the end of the book, Stephanie Barron admits this book is entirely an invention (as far as we know Jane Austen never visited Brighton), giving us a meeting between two of Britain's most famous authors. Though, this book's version of Byron entirely correctly calls Miss Austen the superior writer. Good. It's one of Barron's most detectiv-y novels, it even features a LIST of questions for Jane to get the answers to before she can discover the identity of the murderer. It's also a novel tinged with sadness. Other of the novels had Jane grieving for her friends and family members (as Barron points out, to live in 1813 meant living surrounded by death), but somehow the death of Eliza de Feuillide hurts the most yet, having arrived after her fictionalised version having had featured in many of the 9 books preceding this one. I started reading the book in bed before falling asleep, and ended up regretting that choice as it's right the first chapter which describes Eliza's last days & last breaths. And Barron uses a suitably Austen-esque understated manner for this, which somehow made it all the more moving. The rest of the book is more of a rallying for Eliza's lively spirit. Jane, and her newly widowed brother Henry decide to go to Brighton, the most fashionable party town in the kingdom, to grieve Eliza-style. And of course a murder happens. And at the very end, also a new dress Eliza would approve of - cue eyes getting misty. I can't pretend the whole Byron hullaballo is my cup of tea - and I'm afraid Barron didn't entirely manage to convince me of his magic & magnetism either (and its effect on Jane), but the book is ,(again), just so well written, and manages to weave literature, a good detective case and the vibe of the times so well, I ended up entirely engaged and thrilled nonetheless. P.S. The central murder, or rather its victim...tragic. And believable. (view spoiler)[I'm glad that the author decide to do the whole "people who seem hard and cranky at first are tender on the inside" schtick. The general was an abusive piece of shit, and abusive pieces of shit can, and often will, kill. (hide spoiler)]

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I liked it for all the same reasons I liked Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas (style, pacing, wit, charm, etc.), but I enjoyed this one differently, though perhaps a little less overall. I think the subject matter in The Madness of Lord Byron definitely more scandalous and sensational than 12 Days, at times a bit distasteful, and just as heartbreaking. Plot Summary: After watching her beloved sister-in-law Eliza succumb to breast cancer, Jane and her brother Henry, go to Brighton for a period I liked it for all the same reasons I liked Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas (style, pacing, wit, charm, etc.), but I enjoyed this one differently, though perhaps a little less overall. I think the subject matter in The Madness of Lord Byron definitely more scandalous and sensational than 12 Days, at times a bit distasteful, and just as heartbreaking. Plot Summary: After watching her beloved sister-in-law Eliza succumb to breast cancer, Jane and her brother Henry, go to Brighton for a period of mourning and reflection, only to encounter an abduction en route, and rescue the unfortunate girl from the clutches of none other than celebrated poet Lord Byron. Upon arrival in Brighton, both siblings are treated to the hostile accusations of the girl's father, and witness a domestic altercation. From there, as they renew and make various acquaintances, they keep intersecting the poor darling in various interesting situations, and try to sort out the tangled web enveloping her. They discover many a sordid secret, and ultimately, the innocence or guilt of one man relies on Jane and her uncanny powers of inquiry and deduction. In Austen style, with some liberties, Barron deals with issues like sexual assault, domestic violence, adultery, hedonism, and, of course, murder, among many other things. Only thrice does Jane encounter Byron himself, none of them speaking to his "better nature," if he has one. No, the creature in this story that captivated me most was the victim herself, who actually didn't die until nearly halfway through the book, and based on all the information provided until that point, I named the murderer from gut instinct (I was right, my husband can vouch for me), though Barron obligingly went lengths to tie up all the loose ends she created. It is QUITE the tangle, let me tell you, but loses none of the intrigue in the exercise. For those who are die hard fans of the Jane Austen Mysteries, I doubt this will disappoint. For those of us new to it, you may want to borrow it first before deciding if you want to own it. Support your local library!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Compared to the rest of the series, this one seemed much more of a traditional mystery novel, in that Jane meets the victim and interacts with her, alive, for over a 100 pages, and so I felt that the reader was given more of an opportunity to beat the characters to the punch. That, as well as the reappearance of Desdemona and the Earl of Swithin, were very positive for me. I will say, however, that the principal new characters of this book were unappealing. Catherine Twining was the naive ingenu Compared to the rest of the series, this one seemed much more of a traditional mystery novel, in that Jane meets the victim and interacts with her, alive, for over a 100 pages, and so I felt that the reader was given more of an opportunity to beat the characters to the punch. That, as well as the reappearance of Desdemona and the Earl of Swithin, were very positive for me. I will say, however, that the principal new characters of this book were unappealing. Catherine Twining was the naive ingenue to the point of being insipid and boring to read, I simply could not care about a character who was so clearly just to function as the victim. The antics of Lady Caroline Lamb were written in such a way that I was constantly annoyed through whatever parts of the narrative she was in. And, finally, Byron. I grant that it is difficult to portray such a well-known person, let alone two in the same book, but I felt like this Byron took all the most superficial stereotypes and cobbled them together, yet the narrative acted as if we should take this to be a deep exploration and a humanizing portrayal. It did neither Byron nor Austen justice, and would have been a poor showing of even a fictional "bad boy poet" and "aging woman writer" without the baggage of those two names.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marci

    The book opens sadly with the death of Henry Austen’s wife, Eliza de Feuillide, from breast cancer. Jane and Henry decide to go to Brighton to recover. Enroute, they rescue 15-year-old Catherine Twining from being abducted by Lord Byron and deliver her to her father’s house in Brighton, where she is immediately mistrusted and abused by her tyrannical father. In the town library, Jane meets Desdemona, the Countess Swithin, and instead of acting horribly to Jane as in His Lordship’s Legacy, Mona i The book opens sadly with the death of Henry Austen’s wife, Eliza de Feuillide, from breast cancer. Jane and Henry decide to go to Brighton to recover. Enroute, they rescue 15-year-old Catherine Twining from being abducted by Lord Byron and deliver her to her father’s house in Brighton, where she is immediately mistrusted and abused by her tyrannical father. In the town library, Jane meets Desdemona, the Countess Swithin, and instead of acting horribly to Jane as in His Lordship’s Legacy, Mona is friendly. Jane is on her guard, but in this book, Mona works at becoming Jane’s friend. She uses some rather brutal confrontation tactics to achieve it though—at one point she brings Jane to the point of tears in telling her that she knew her uncle, Lord Harold Wilborough, had intended to marry Jane. It is astonishing to me that this makes Jane trust her the more. Set against how coldly and rudely Mona behaved at the time of Lord Harold’s death, and how she seemed to blame Jane for inheriting the Bengal chest of papers, I cannot understand exactly how she gets a pass in this book by admitting that she knew all along what their relationship was and yet still acted badly toward Jane at the time. Nevertheless, their detective partnership is delightful. They investigate two historical figures with lots of terrible baggage regarding Lord Byron, specifically, his lovers Lady Caroline Lamb and the Countess of Oxford. They also investigate Byron himself, and Jane feels the power of his personality. Jane voices to Mona a melancholic longing for Lord Harold to have lived, so that his abilities could have helped them solve the murder. (view spoiler)[ Hang on, the solution is complicated, as is true of all the Jane Austen mysteries. Young Catherine Twining goes to the Assembly with her father and her chaperone (another ineffectual chaperone in this novel; one might almost be able to write a treatise on the bad chaperones in this series), Mrs. Louisa Silchester. Catherine dances the first two dances with Mr. Hendred Smalls, the almost-elderly chaplain her father intends her to marry, then she dances with another man, and after that with her lover, Captain (Viscount) Morley, aka Phillip Barrett, who just happens to be the nephew of the man who eloped with Catherine’s mother and died in a duel with Catherine’s father. Catherine’s father, General Twining, leaves the Assembly and goes to the Prince Regent’s Pavilion at the invitation of his degenerate old friend Colonel George Hanger (who had already tried to rape Catherine in the Pavilion a few days since) to play at hazard and drink. They get roaring drunk. Meanwhile, back at the Assembly, Catherine is bothered no end by Lord Bryon who wants to speak to her. Morley makes short work of him, but Catherine’s next dance partner is Scrope Davies, great friend of Bryon but also in love with Catherine AND her neighbor across the street. In comes Lady Caro Lamb in Greek costume, disrupts the entire Assembly and routs Byron, who leaves. Lady Caro snags Catherine and takes her off to the Pavilion, with Morley to escort them there. Morley has been invited (or commanded) by Hanger to play hazard too, so he leaves the women and joins Hanger and Twining. He stays barely a half hour, enduring verbal abuse by Twining, who leaves, and then by Hanger, who suggests Catherine is a whore like her mother. Morley leaves Hanger, meets Twining and knocks him down, and Morley leaves the Pavilion. Just minutes later, Bryon arrives at the Pavilion and bursts in on the women. Caro distracts Byron and Catherine escapes. Twining awakes to see Byron going in, then Catherine coming out disheveled. He follows Catherine, drags her across the shingle and drowns her in the surf. Hanger sees the corpse later and wades out to the Giaour (Byron’s yacht) and grabs a hammock with the name of the yacht on it, borrows a needle and thread from the under-groomsman at the Pavilion who had been attending to a foaling and had seen Catherine exit, and Hanger sews up a quick shroud around Catherine’s body and carries it through the tunnel to the King’s Arms inn and puts it in the bed lately hired by Byron, where the corpse is discovered a few hours later by the morning maid. Byron had settled his bill before going to the Pavilion, and he spends the rest of the night at Scrope Davies’s house. He is arrested for the murder, but Jane and Mona find out the truth and tell him. Byron forces the General to write a confession and the General kills himself. Byron incorporates the truth in his poem, The Giaour. (hide spoiler)] The complexity of the solution is highly satisfying to the reader of murder mysteries, and the detection proceeds with intelligence and little wasted time or effort. Jane, Mona, Henry, and Mona’s husband make no wrong turns or stupid moves that put them into peril, always my pet peeves with mysteries. (I don’t mind peril through mischance, but I hate it when the sleuth is simply careless, or especially, stupid.) The other satisfactory element is the wit and voice of Jane Austen. In this novel, it is again pitch-perfect, with her dryly amusing comments on people, situations, and her own self just what I imagine Jane Austen to have sounded like in contemplating a murder mystery. In an afterward interview, author Stephanie Barron talks about how in some of the series she consulted the letters minutely to construct the outline of the story, carefully going line by line through the letters of a particular period of time. But in this one, she gave herself free rein to invent nearly everything, given only that Jane was known to be with her brother Henry at this time, and that Lord Byron was known to have first published The Giaour in a 700-line version the very next month, although the two authors were never known to have met. In this interview the author also calls attention to the curious fact that when Lord Byron died, his body was denied burial at Westminster Abbey and was taken to the London home of Jane Austen’s niece Fanny Austen Knight, then married to Sir Edward Knatchbull. Very interesting connection!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Yehudit Reishtein

    Written in the style of Jane Austen, this is Miss Austen's "own" journal of her involvement in finding the murderer of a young woman in Brighton in the year 1813. Jane has accompanied her brother Henry for a a two week off-season stay at the resort, and makes the acquaintance of Catherine Twining by rescuing the young woman from the clutches of her kidnapper, George Gordon, also known as Lord Byron. When a hammock from Byron's boat contained Catherine's drowned body is found in his bed, he is im Written in the style of Jane Austen, this is Miss Austen's "own" journal of her involvement in finding the murderer of a young woman in Brighton in the year 1813. Jane has accompanied her brother Henry for a a two week off-season stay at the resort, and makes the acquaintance of Catherine Twining by rescuing the young woman from the clutches of her kidnapper, George Gordon, also known as Lord Byron. When a hammock from Byron's boat contained Catherine's drowned body is found in his bed, he is immediately considered the murderer. But Jane thinks too many questions have not been asked, and sets about trying to find the actual murderer. Numerous suspects present themselves before she eventually learns the identity of the culprit. In the meantime, we are treated to numerous details about life among society in Regency times, which is a lot of fun for readers interested in the period. Although I figured out who did it, and why, long before the evidence was all in, as she collected testimony form others, I often found myself thinking, "well, maybe not the person I suspect, maybe this one or that one." A delight to read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen Christino

    I enjoyed this book, especially the characters of Byron and Caroline Lamb, who were both dramatic and unstable people, very well depicted. The author really brings the time period to life as well. That said, I just found the repetition of archaic words like "nuncheon" "reticule," "gaol"and "sopha" a little annoying. I know this is fiction, but as a lover of Austen, I also can't get away from the feeling that her character in the book is nothing like what I've read from and about the real person. I enjoyed this book, especially the characters of Byron and Caroline Lamb, who were both dramatic and unstable people, very well depicted. The author really brings the time period to life as well. That said, I just found the repetition of archaic words like "nuncheon" "reticule," "gaol"and "sopha" a little annoying. I know this is fiction, but as a lover of Austen, I also can't get away from the feeling that her character in the book is nothing like what I've read from and about the real person. Still, a wonderful premise and absorbing mystery with an unexpected ending that seemed very appropriate.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    Lord Trowbridge had died!!! Books and books ago but then, I don't always read books in order... But I must say, I'm deeply saddened. I really liked him and I know Jane did too! Sadly, Barron couldn't have her heroine, Jane Austen, who never wed in real life, marry in her fictional self... too too bad, as it is so evident that Jane is a lonely woman and a good catch, although Trowbridge's niece, Mona, remarked that Sir Harold had said something to the effect that it was better that Jane not marry Lord Trowbridge had died!!! Books and books ago but then, I don't always read books in order... But I must say, I'm deeply saddened. I really liked him and I know Jane did too! Sadly, Barron couldn't have her heroine, Jane Austen, who never wed in real life, marry in her fictional self... too too bad, as it is so evident that Jane is a lonely woman and a good catch, although Trowbridge's niece, Mona, remarked that Sir Harold had said something to the effect that it was better that Jane not marry, else the world of and catching murderers (and literature) would be.... so much duller. Interesting to learn a bit about the real life Poet Lord Byron, of whom I had certainly heard but not read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tisa

    I've just started enjoying to read within the past few years. I'm an easy read gal. Slow start for me. I'm a who-dun-it! As far as the premise it's a good idea. unfortunately, the old English is a bit complicated for me in this story plot. Too many characters to understand & how they relate between class, prestige & etiquette but it's understandable for the era of the story. I do like the concept of Jane Austen trying being the sleuth for the pursuit of justice. The mystery was intriguing, I fou I've just started enjoying to read within the past few years. I'm an easy read gal. Slow start for me. I'm a who-dun-it! As far as the premise it's a good idea. unfortunately, the old English is a bit complicated for me in this story plot. Too many characters to understand & how they relate between class, prestige & etiquette but it's understandable for the era of the story. I do like the concept of Jane Austen trying being the sleuth for the pursuit of justice. The mystery was intriguing, I found the there were too many personalities of each character which made it confusing to follow accurately. Many levels of eccentricities w/the women in the story were a bit bothersome for my taste. I'm sure in that era no one understood or heard of Bipolar issues. Another reviewer stated "depraved narcissist with poor impulse control "anti-hero". I agree Having the man behavior of forced marriage, & attempted rape then making it sound romantic is a bit crazy. If you enjoy the idea of Jane Austen as a Sluthe then you'll enjoy it. I do suggest though reading from the beginning of the series. This could be the reason why I'm having trouble following along with the plot. At the time fo purchase, I didn't realize that I was reading the 10th in the series. Maybe this is a novel series that must be read from the beginning. As far as the author & her writing. She is quite talented. I am enjoying who the villain is?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Terje Fokstuen

    Jane Austen, on the way to Brighton, with her banker brother Henry, to alleviate the loss they both feel at the loss of his wife Eliza stumble on a kidnapping of a lovely, young woman. The young woman is subsequently murdered and Jane must use all of her good sense to solve the murder mystery and save the deplorable Lord Byron who has been accused of the crime. An enjoyable romp for Austen fans and a fine period mystery. Recommended for fans of Ms. Austen.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Still loving these mysteries featuring Jane Austen as the detective. The Regency setting is well described (even Prinny shows up in this one) and having Lord Byron as a suspected murderer adds a new dimension. This one is probably farther away from Austen's real life as the author admits as far as she know Austen was never in Brighton, and Lord Byron was never arrested for murder. Still it's a nice convoluted mystery with the usual interesting characters. Still loving these mysteries featuring Jane Austen as the detective. The Regency setting is well described (even Prinny shows up in this one) and having Lord Byron as a suspected murderer adds a new dimension. This one is probably farther away from Austen's real life as the author admits as far as she know Austen was never in Brighton, and Lord Byron was never arrested for murder. Still it's a nice convoluted mystery with the usual interesting characters.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Gabel

    I have enjoyed all of the books in Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen series. Jane's "voice" is spot on for the era. Each book makes me want to further investigate the lives of the real people that are included in the story,ie George Gordon, Lord Byron, and his two lovers Caroline Lamb and Jane Harley, Lady Oxford. I have enjoyed all of the books in Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen series. Jane's "voice" is spot on for the era. Each book makes me want to further investigate the lives of the real people that are included in the story,ie George Gordon, Lord Byron, and his two lovers Caroline Lamb and Jane Harley, Lady Oxford.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I read the 12 days of Christmas one and found it rather entertaining, and thought with a fictionalized version of such a colorful literary character as Gorgeous George Byron that this one would be even better, but no. Couldn't get into it. I read the 12 days of Christmas one and found it rather entertaining, and thought with a fictionalized version of such a colorful literary character as Gorgeous George Byron that this one would be even better, but no. Couldn't get into it.

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