Jane and The Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron- Book review and Blog Tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for the Austensque, historical fiction Jane and The Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron.

  • Series: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 14)
  • Genre:Historical Mystery, Austenesque

May 1816: Jane Austen is feeling unwell, with an uneasy stomach, constant fatigue, rashes, fevers and aches. She attributes her poor condition to the stress of family burdens, which even the drafting of her latest manuscript—about a baronet’s daughter nursing a broken heart for a daring naval captain—cannot alleviate. Her apothecary recommends a trial of the curative waters at Cheltenham Spa, in Gloucestershire. Jane decides to use some of the profits earned from her last novel, Emma, and treat herself to a period of rest and reflection at the spa, in the company of her sister, Cassandra.
Cheltenham Spa hardly turns out to be the relaxing sojourn Jane and Cassandra envisaged, however. It is immediately obvious that other boarders at the guest house where the Misses Austen are staying have come to Cheltenham with stresses of their own—some of them deadly. But perhaps with Jane’s interference a terrible crime might be prevented. Set during the Year without a Summer, when the eruption of Mount Tambora in the South Pacific caused a volcanic winter that shrouded the entire planet for sixteen months, this fourteenth installment in Stephanie Barron’s critically acclaimed series brings a forgotten moment of Regency history to life.




I can’t believe I haven’t come across The Being Jane Austen Mystery series by Stephanie Barron before I took part in the Jane and the Year without Summer blog tour, the fourteenth book in the series.

The book is told in the first person from Jane’s Austen point of view and I felt like I was seeing the world with her eyes. Jane’s voice is strong, confident, with a sense of humour and her attitude is in keeping with the times.

The book is rich with historical detail, particularly the vivid descriptions of Cheltenham and its spas which isn’t much described in fiction. As with all historical fiction I read, I am always fascinated by the socioeconomic state of women of the time. I’m a big fan of footnotes and explanations in historical fiction and sadly it made me happy to read the editors notes on some of the historical facts.

The mystery itself was fascinating and I have to admit I was definitely surprised by the identity of the victim and murder. There is a range of characters who have their own quirks which makes them viable suspects or potential victims.

The romance between Austen and West is written with plenty of restrained longing but the best relationship in the book is the one between Jane and her sister, Cassandra.

Perfect for fans who

Love non-gruesome murders in a historical setting 


I’m so excited to have discovered a new mystery series to devour and there are 13 books to read!


Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written twenty-five books, including five novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-Season, Death in Rough Water, Death in a Mood Indigo, Death in a Cold Hard Light, and Death on Nantucket) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the penname, Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.

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