As a Jane Austen fan (or fanatic), I’m always fascinated by the different views and literary paths people take regarding Jane. From retellings using the viewpoints of different characters, mysteries featuring Jane as the detective, and even some quirky novels with Jane as a vampire, there are a variety of books for Austenites, with not all being a delight to read. But “The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen” by Lindsay Ashford is a treat, utilizing the mystery surrounding Jane Austen’s death, and the people around her to create a intriguing book. Seeing Jane through the eyes of a newfound friend late in her all-too-short life, brings a new viewpoint to Jane, and a new appreciation for her books.
Anne Sharp first met Jane Austen as governess to Jane’s niece, and they quickly formed a friendship that would survive until Jane’s untimely end. But Anne begins to have doubts as to Jane’s “natural” death, and looking back over the past, Anne sees events and people in a new light that is often not flattering. How did Jane Austen die and was it at the hands of someone close to her?
Jane Austen died of unknown causes at 41, her face "black and white and every wrong colour" (Austen's own words). This book sparked international headlines with the provocative question: Was Jane Austen poisoned? A compelling fictional account of the circumstances surrounding Jane Austen's mysterious death from award-winning mystery writer Lindsay Ashford, inspired by letters and diaries from the Austen archive. Both a puzzle and an unusual love story, it delves deep into the world Jane inhabited and will fascinate Austen fans and mystery readers alike.