on 25 August 2000
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen had a special fondness for scoundrels and scallawags. How else explain her fully-realized portraits of Wickham (in Pride and Prejudice) or Willoughby (in Sense and Sensibility) or Frank Churchill (in Emma)? These rascals are, in many ways, the most interesting characters in her books.
Now comes the sleuth alter-ego of Jane in her second adventure, and in her journals, she makes no secret of her attraction for the man who is also, apparently, the head of the local smuggling band known as The Reverend, rather than Captain Fielding, the upright Revenue spy.
En route to their holiday stay in Lyme Regis from their home in Bath, the Reverend Henry Austen and his wife, plus their two daughters, Cassandra and Jane, are considerably shaken up when their hired carriage overturns within a few miles of their destination. Cassandra suffers the most serious injury, and needs immediate attention. In the driving rain, Jane and the postboy set out on foot for the nearest habitat -- High Down the home of Geoffrey Sidmouth. After an initial not-at-all-welcoming greeting, Sidmouth makes himself, his staff and his home available. It is some three days later that the Austens are able to journey on to Winds, their hired cottage in Lyme.
Jane's writer's curiosity stands her in good stead as she sorts through the various miscellaneous characters rampant in Lyme, ranging from visiting second-rate nobility to smugglers, from retired Naval captains to French emigrees.
Ms. Barron's masterful technique in editing the pseudo-Jane's early diaries and journals is witty, pungent, and to the point. Any reader of either mysteries or Regencies, or even 'literature' will delight in this new look at our most famous woman author. Any reader of Jane Austen's books will easily recognize events and characters she later put to good use in those volumes bearing her own name.
on 17 November 2015
Loved the actual story, but was very unhappy with the condition in which the book arrived. The description said that the book was used but in good condition. However, when it arrived it was incredibly dirty, and as soon as I began to read it pages started falling out!!