What (am I currently reading)?
I am currently reading Jane and the Year without a Summer: 14 (Being a Jane Austen Mystery) by Stephanie Barron. This is the 14th book in the series, though the first I have read, and is being published by Soho Press on 8 February 2022.
Book Blurb (taken from https://austenprose.com/ There is also an excerpt to be found at this web page )
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 instalment in Stephanie Barron’s critically acclaimed series brings a forgotten moment of Regency history to life.
Why (have I chosen to read it)?
I had never heard of this natural disaster, causing a year without a summer, so that piqued my interest, and then the Book Blurb settled it for me. Though the 14th in the series, it is the first book I have read by this author, and is absolutely fine as stand alone – actually its more than fine, I’m loving it! Stephanie Barron also writes as Francine Mathews
While (I am reading it)
It remained sunny most of this week so I went out for a 3 hour cross country ski – all flat-ish. It was stunningly beautiful, though I should have built up a bit more to this long exercise session (my muscles are still suffering days later), but it was worth it for the scenery and the joy of being out. The lesson learnt is that I need to do more long sessions, and so get fitter!
My review of Jane and the Year without a Summer will be up soon. Meanwhile have a look at other Historical Fiction I have reviewed: https://emmabbooks.com/history/
All the best, Emma