The Jane Austen Investigates by Julia Golding is a Historical mystery for middle graders. I am a fan of Jane Austen’s work and could not Resist the cover, I was immediately intrigued, no matter my age. I am happy to get to know what is being done for kids, as soon I will be buying some books for my growing children. And this is a trully wonderful novel I would’ve loved when I was 11 years old.
The story follows a fictional Jane Austen that finds herself the companion of a lady in what might be a haunted Abby. The family is not very nice but they have some very interesting servents that make for compelling your friends.
The author used a lot of historical facts about the Austen family, their personalities, and their way of life. And for the older audience there is actually a lot of references to some of Austen’s work, her known letters to her sister, and her love for writing. In fact young people can learn a lot about the time period. The book is full of very educational bits and pieces about what people did and how their social class dictated what they were able or not able to do. The beginning of the book was a bit less natural in tone because of all the information. It wasn’t done in a heavy way, but it broke the flow a little with less natural storytelling. This actually feels like a first novel, even though the author is quite experienced in her field, as the tone of the book really improves around the middle mark. It feels like the author really got comfortable with her style and didn’t have to highlight those points which are real or which we know about the Austen family.
I like that there was talk about scientific progress, and a girl who could ride horses and handle weapons, all thanks to her being an exotic import from India, And therefore free from many of the girl’s constraints of the time. This makes for obviously richer stories. But it is obviously Jane’s wit and intelligence which is the star of the book.
The next volumes promise to be very entertaining too and I hope there will be a big series to follow because I am sure many girls will love it, especially fans of the Enola Holmes mystery series.
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