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Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron (Jane Austen Series #10)

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  • Posted October 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Jane Austen, Detective is back on the case and in peak form

    JANE AND THE MADNESS OF LORD BYRON marks Stephanie Barron's tenth novel in the best-selling JANE AUSTEN MYSTERY series. It is the spring of 1813. Jane is called to London where her brother Henry's wife Eliza is gravely ill. With her passing, Jane and Henry decide to seek the solace and restorative powers of the seaside selecting Brighton for holiday excursion.

    At a coaching Inn along the way they rescue young Catherine Twining who is being abducted by Lord Byron, the notorious mad, bad and dangerous to know poet. Jane and Henry return her to her father General Twining in Brighton. He is furious and quick to fault his fifteen year-old daughter. They are appalled at his temper and concerned for her welfare. Lord Byron reappears in Brighton and attends an Assembly dance, again in hot pursuit of Miss Twining. The next morning, Jane and Henry are shocked to learn that the lifeless body of a young lady found in Byron's bed is Miss 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.

    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 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 in the novel 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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    What a delightful read!!!!!

    I must say that when I ordered this book I was a little worried about getting into the story since I hadn't read any of the previous books from the series. This being the 10th in the series, I thought I would be lost but since I am a HUGE fan of both Jane Austen AND Lord Byron I had to read this book. And read I did, I loved this book so much that I might even re-read it in a few months. The story was written exceptionally well, the authoress did justice to both writers and the book is full of drama. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves to read Regency stories whether you're a fan of JA or LB or just the Regency era you will definitely love this book.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    A most satisfactory trip!

    To read this series is to be transported to Regency England, to the decadence of the Prince Regent that flourished alongside the strict morals professed by the proper folk. It's as if Stephanie Barron time-traveled to 1813 to absorb every nuance of custom and conversation, then hurried back to set it all down for us. The fascinating, bizarre cast includes the Prince Regent, of course (Prinny), Lord Byron and Lady Caroline Lamb. These last two dissolute characters, the author says, were actually tamed down in her version, and they're wild!
    In its leisurely, elegant way, the novel brings us to the death of Jane Austen's beloved sister-in-law, Eliza, Comtesse de Feuillide and the wife of her brother, Henry. The dying woman seems to whisper something to Jane as she expires. Regret? Jane isn't quite sure what she heard. She is writing her third novel, "Mansfield Park" and plans to publish it anonymously, as she has her first two. Miss Austen is not as absorbed in it as she would like, though and agrees to accompany Henry to Brighton to dispel the gloom caused by Eliza's death.
    On their way, Jane rescues a girl of fifteen, Catherine Twining, who has been abducted, bound and gagged, from the coach of Lord Byron! Byron, otherwise known as George Gordon, has just published his epic poem, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and every woman in England swoons when he draws near. Every woman but Catherine with whom Byron is obsessed.
    A most satisfactory trip through springtime madness on the coast of England in a by-gone time.

    Reviewed by Kaye George, Author of "A Patchwork of Stories" for Suspense Magazine

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    I'm sorry but I didn't like it.

    Now, before you think, "oh, this girl just doesn't like classics", let me assure you that isn't true. I LOVE the classics. Vanity Fair, Jane Eyre, Cousin Bette, Count of Monte Cristo, Madame Bovary, the Eustace Diamonds, Lady Chatterly's Lover to name a few. And I admit: I picked up this book being more a fan of Byron than of Jane Austin. (She's on my to-read list, so stop having kittens, you raging fans.) That said, I didn't enjoy this book for several reasons:

    1. Characterization. While I haven't exactly read Jane Austen's work, that is not to say I am not unfamiliar with her wit. Her quotes are famous. And while Barron's Jane is somewhat snippy here and there, I don't see the tongue-in-cheek jabs that Austen is famous for. There's a huge difference between snipes and witty repartee, folks. And I don't see it. Jane's is also not the only character I find truly flawed. It seems EVERYONE TALKS THE SAME. While it's true that sayings come & go in fashion, such as "groovy" or "far out" depicts the 1970's era, why must EVERYONE here end a sentence with "I collect" instead of "I suppose" or "I guess". (If you've read the historical letters by Byron, you'd get an idea of what his "author's voice" is like, and you'd know he would never, EVER talk like that! UGH!) Which brings me to #2.

    2. Verbal stutters. This is where an author ends up using the same words over & over & over again throughout the freaking book. PLEASE get a thesaurus. If I have to read "I collect" or "vulgar/vulgarity" one more time, *I* am about to get vulgar with a "collection" of expletives.

    3. The pacing. It is so slow where I don't want it to be & then the author picks up the pace where I wish she'd elaborate more. When things got interesting, the scene changed & I was left gasping, "NOOOO! Come back here!" Meanwhile, the very boring characters are chatting again. And it takes them a paragraph to get their point across when only three sentences would do. (If "brevity is the soul of wit", there are some really witless people in this novel!) And they might as well be talking about cucumber sandwiches for all I care because it does NOTHING to move the plot along nor move me emotionally to care about any of the characters. In fact, I want to jump in the story so I can find murder a few characters myself.

    4. I could not like Catherine Twining. It became very difficult to feel sorry for her when she inevitably died. (Who didn't see that coming a mile away?) She was a born victim, and even Jane calls her a "goosecap" repeatedly. So, tell me...how am I to feel sorry for Catherine when she gets murdered? I got the impression even Jane didn't like her much. And how am I to empathize with Jane when Jane feels responsible for her death? (That if only Jane had stayed & watched over Catherine--as Catherine requested--maybe Catherine wouldn't have been murdered, blah blah blah.) I feel the emotions here to be contrived, forced.

    The pace of the story is choppy, the characters seem two-dimensional, and the wordage is awfully repetitive. Overall, I feel like I'm reading the outline of a book but the book has yet to be written. This had great potential & I was very much looking forward to reading it. I am dismally disappointed.

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  • Posted September 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The latest Jane Austen amateur sleuth mystery is a terrific tale

    In 1813, Henry Austen's wife Eliza dies after a lengthy illness. The Austen family grieves their loss but none besides Henry mourns the death of Eliza than Jane does; she was more a sister than an in-law.

    Hoping to move on from Eliza's death, Henry and Jane travel to Brighton where they believe the ocean will prove energizing. The siblings stop at an inn on their travel only to find the wrists of a teenage girl tied by a cravat in a nearby coach. A few days later in Brighton, that same female Catherine Twining is found dead in Lord Byron's bed at the King's Arms. Byron swears he is innocent in spite of his scandalous reputation. As she investigates, Jane finds the poet charming, but albeit a bit too insane for her tastes.

    The latest Jane Austen amateur sleuth (see Jane and the Barque of Frailty) is a terrific tale as Stephanie Barron catches the essence of the heroine, Byron, and the era. The murder mystery is well written and very entertaining, but the fun in this strong entry is Byron who enchants everyone including Jane who knows better. In the seemingly overkilled Austen recast "sub-genre" this series remains one of more endearing.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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