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Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron: Being A…

Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron: Being A Jane Austen Mystery (edition 2010)

by Stephanie Barron

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144683,153 (3.73)12
Title:Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron: Being A Jane Austen Mystery
Authors:Stephanie Barron
Info:Bantam (2010), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron by Stephanie Barron

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I've read a few from this series and they've all been pretty slow going. I didn't enjoy this one very much---too many sexual references and I think Jane would have been much more of a lady than to talk about some of them.

On page 104, the author has Jane making a statement about Mansfield Park's Fanny that I totally don't think was in Austen's mind at all when writing it: "I cannot like my poor Fanny, tho' her scruples are such as must command respect; I believe I shall spare the darling Henry such a cross, and bestow the lady upon her cousin Edmund---who has earned her as penance, for his utter lack of humour." Fanny and Edmund's story is a true love story and I think Austen respected her characters much more than that. This was a stupid move on the author's part, in my opinion.

I have a couple more from this series on Mt. TBR, but I'm not in a big hurry to get to them any time soon. Austen's own novels are a thousand times more engrossing. ( )
  lostinavalonOR | Feb 25, 2014 |
Pretty enjoyable, but started to drag at some point for me. ( )
  alyson | Aug 29, 2013 |
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 ( )
  suspensemag | Oct 12, 2011 |
Just when I had given up hope that there would be any more books in this favorite series, I learned that this book was to be released. Jane Austen and her brother, Henry, travel to Brighton for a change of scenery after the death of his wife, Eliza, who was much loved by them both. They arrive just in time to prevent a young woman from being kidnapped by Lord Byron, who is obsessed with the teenage girl. When the girl is later found dead in circumstances suggesting that Lord Byron murdered her, Jane uses her amateur sleuthing skills to learn the truth behind the girl's death.

This book didn't live up to my expectations for the series. I don't know whether my reading taste has changed in the years since the last book was released, or if the author's writing style has changed. I suspect it's the latter. It seems like there are more innuendos and suggestive talk in Jane's conversations in this book, and it feels out of character for Jane Austen. The characterizations lacked subtlety. The good characters were good, the bad characters were despicable, and there weren't any who were difficult to place in one or the other category.

The earlier books in this series made this one of my favorite historical mystery series. A new book in the series came out just a few weeks ago. Maybe I'll enjoy that one more since my expectation has dropped a bit after reading this one. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Oct 6, 2011 |
This is the tenth volume in Barron's series with Jane Austen as the narrator and sleuth. Jane's brother Henry has just lost his beloved wife Eliza. Jane suggests he visit one of the coastal towns as a balm to blunt the edge of his grief. He decides to go to Brighton if Jane will go with him. She had thought one of the quieter towns like Lyme, but sees that Brighton, made fashionable by the Prince Regent, would better suit Henry's disposition. On the way to Brighton, they find a young lady bound and gagged in a carriage who has been abducted by George Gordon, Lord Byron. They rescue her and return her to her unpleasant father, and Jane gets to know the girl somewhat better in Brighton. So when the girl's body is found sewn into a sail from Byron's boat and dumped into Byron's bed, she feels compelled to find the killer. Is it Byron, so prone to passion? Is it Lady Caroline Lamb, whose passion for Byron is more inflamed the more he spurns her?

This book is one of the best in a good series. In a sense, it does a violence to history, as the real Jane Austen would have never, could have never, been involved in such things. Yet it works because the reader believes that the author has captured the essence of Austen's character. She makes one understand Byron's magnetism, even though one feels Austen and Byron did not have much in common and would not have liked each other. Caro Lamb also comes to life, a creature about whom the term "drama queen" might have been invented. Highly recommended. ( )
  reannon | Nov 13, 2010 |
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Pictures of perfection as you know make me sick & wicked.

--Jane Austen in a letter to her niece, Fanny Knight, 23 March 1817
In Memory of Bupsh
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25 April 1813
Sloane Street, London

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 birdsong and tugging breezes swell about one's head; of the catch in one's throat at the glimpse of a fox, hurrying home to her kits waiting curled and warm in the den beneath the Park's great oaks.
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Not long after arriving at the English resort of Brighton, Jane finds herself caught up in the town's turmoil when the body of a beautiful young society miss is discovered, lifeless, in the bedchamber of none other than George Gordon--otherwise known as Lord Byron.… (more)

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