Saturday, 20 February 2016

Jane and the Waterloo Map - Blog Tour and US Giveaway

Jane and the Waterloo Map by Stephanie Barron - Blog Tour
Today the blog tour for Stephanie Barron’s ‘Jane and the Waterloo Map’ stops off here for my review. If you are unfamiliar with her work, Ms Barron has written a whole series of books with Jane Austen as the investigator of murders and foul play. Read on for my review, and for the chance to enter a US giveaway of some wonderful prizes.

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Amateur sleuth Jane Austen returns in Jane and the Waterloo Map, the thirteenth novel in Stephanie Barron’s delightful Regency-era mystery series.

Award winning author Stephanie Barron tours the blogosphere February 2 through to February 22, 2016 to share her latest release, Jane and the Waterloo Map (Being a Jane Austen Mystery). Twenty popular book bloggers specializing in Austenesque fiction, mystery and Regency history will feature guest blogs, interviews, excerpts and book reviews from this highly anticipated novel in the acclaimed Being a Jane Austen Mystery series. A fabulous giveaway contest, including copies of Ms. Barron’s book and other Jane Austen-themed items, will be open to those who join the festivities.

Book cover: Jane and the Waterloo Map by Stephanie Barron
MY REVIEW

This is number 13 in the ‘Being a Jane Austen Mystery’ series (here's the Goodreads link to the series), following on from ‘Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas’ which I reviewed last year. It is November 1815 and Jane Austen is staying with her brother Henry, in London. Jane is waiting for the proofs of ‘Emma’ to correct them ready for publishing. We meet up with Jane Austen as she is arriving at the Prince Regent’s home, as he is desirous of having one of her novels dedicated to him. During this visit she is shown the library, where she finds a soldier, Colonel MacFarland in a terrible state, fitting and vomiting. Obviously she and her guide go to the man’s aid, and while her guide rushes away to find a doctor Jane is left tending to the soldier. MacFarland struggles to get out two words: “Waterloo Map”, but that is all he can manage. Later, Jane comes to suspect that rather than suffering from an apoplexy, the soldier may have been poisoned. Having the acquaintance of the Regent’s physician, Dr Matthew Baillie, who ends up being the last person to treat MacFarland, Jane is able to raise this suspicion and the doctor is able to confirm that unfortunately this is correct. But what the Waterloo Map is, where it is, what it could tell us, and who would be willing to kill to obtain it are all questions that Jane works to try and uncover.

This mystery ties in with some known events of Jane’s life, and many of the characters in the story are people who actually existed, though of course their actions and characters in real life might well have differed from the representation here. I found this blending of real life and fiction excellent. One thing I thought was particularly helpful was that there were notes to tell the reader that some events actually happened, which was useful, as aside from the murder, which you know to be fiction, it’s not always easy to tell what is historical and what is fictionalised. It’s obvious that a lot of research went into the making of this book, and you not only feel like you’re being entertained, but that you are learning something about the past as you read.

Joining Jane in her investigations are her brother Henry, her niece Fanny Knight, and a gentleman that we met in ‘Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas’, Mr Raphael West, son of the prominent artist, Benjamin West. Given Raphael West’s role in the stories I assumed he was a fictional character, but actually he was a real person, though I have no idea whether he knew Jane Austen. There are mentions of the previous book, but nothing that verges into spoiler territory, and you could read this as a stand-alone book without trouble.

This story is written first person, from Jane Austen’s point of view, and I really enjoyed her ‘voice’. Having read some of Austen’s surviving letters I think the author did a good job of capturing her tone. Here she reflects on how it would be to write in the Prince Regent’s library, with his numerous footmen (who were all referred to as ‘James’ for convenience) at her beck and call:
‘I might be undisturbed for hours, treated to good coal fires, and have my pick of myriad Jameses to bring me ratafia and cakes whenever I desired them.’
Although the spelling in this book is US English, the language used isn’t particularly American, with the exception of the odd word here and there such as ‘foyer’ instead of ‘hall’. I was a little surprised at the fact that Jane sometimes goes out alone, as I didn’t think that was the done thing for a lady in London regardless of her age, though I suppose when conducting a murder investigation the rules of society can’t always be strictly observed.

I thought the mystery itself was good; there were a few big red herrings, but also some clues there. In some mysteries there are details which are not available to the reader until later but that’s not the case here, the events and behaviours of characters are there for you to interpret. The only quibble I had about this mystery was the pacing of it, which seemed a little uneven to me – it’s quite slow going for quite a while but ends at breakneck speed. I still had a few questions that remained unanswered by the end, but that’s more me being nosey rather than the mystery not being fully explained!

For me, the big draw of these books is spending so much time with Jane Austen in her fictional adventures, and I very much enjoyed it, although, like many books featuring Austen, it made me feel a little bit sad to feel how little time she had left after the setting of this book, less than two years. I certainly hope we get more in this series to enjoy! I’d highly recommend this book and rate it as a 4½ star read.

4.5 star read

*I received an e-book of this book for my honest review as part of the blog tour.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Jane Austen turns sleuth in this delightful Regency-era mystery

November, 1815. The Battle of Waterloo has come and gone, leaving the British economy in shreds; Henry Austen, high-flying banker, is about to declare bankruptcy—dragging several of his brothers down with him. The crisis destroys Henry’s health, and Jane flies to his London bedside, believing him to be dying. While she’s there, the chaplain to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent invites Jane to tour Carlton House, the Prince’s fabulous London home. The chaplain is a fan of Jane’s books, and during the tour he suggests she dedicate her next novel—Emma—to HRH, whom she despises.

However, before she can speak to HRH, Jane stumbles upon a body—sprawled on the carpet in the Regent’s library. The dying man, Colonel MacFarland, was a cavalry hero and a friend of Wellington’s. He utters a single failing phrase: “Waterloo map” . . . and Jane is on the hunt for a treasure of incalculable value and a killer of considerable cunning.

PURCHASE LINKS:



Author of the 'Being a Jane Austen Mystery' series, Stephanie Barron
AUTHOR BIO:

Stephanie Barron 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 fifteen books. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Learn more about Stephanie and her books at her website, visit her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Prize bundle - Jane and the Waterloo Map Blog Tour
Grand Giveaway Contest

Win One of Three Fabulous Prizes

In celebration of the release of Jane and the Waterloo Map, Stephanie is offering a chance to win one of three prize packages filled with an amazing selection of Jane Austen-inspired gifts and books!  

To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on Jane and the Waterloo Map Blog Tour starting February 02, 2016 through 11:59 pm PT, February 29, 2016. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments and announced on Stephanie’s website on March 3, 2016. Winners have until March 10, 2016 to claim their prize. Shipment is to US addresses. Good luck to all!


JANE AND THE WATERLOO MAP BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Jane and the Waterloo Map by Stephanie Barron - Blog Tour

February 02              My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)
February 03              Laura's Reviews (Excerpt)                                               
February 04              A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
February 05              The Calico Critic (Review)           
February 06              So Little Time…So Much to Read (Excerpt)                            
February 07              Reflections of a Book Addict (Spotlight)                                  
February 08              Mimi Matthews Blog (Guest Blog)                                  
February 09              Jane Austen’s World (Interview)                                                
February 10              Just Jane 1813 (Review)                                      
February 11              Confessions of a Book Addict (Excerpt)                                 
February 12              History of the 18th and 19th Centuries (Guest Blog)               
February 13              My Jane Austen Book Club (Interview)                        
February 14              Living Read Girl (Review)                        
February 14              Austenprose (Review)
February 15              Mystery Fanfare (Guest Blog)                             
February 16              Laura's Reviews (Review)                                               
February 17              Jane Austen in Vermont (Excerpt)                                             
February 18              From Pemberley to Milton (Interview)                                       
February 19              More Agreeably Engaged (Review)
February 20              Babblings of a Bookworm (Review)                                         
February 21              A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life (Guest Blog)
February 22              Diary of an Eccentric (Review) 


33 comments:

  1. I am looking forward to reading this series!

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    1. I've only read books 12 and 13 and I enjoyed them both very much. I need to get the earlier books too!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Summer, and good luck in the giveaway :)

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  3. Nice review Ceri. I found it so hard to end this story. I loved spending all that time with Jane! Glad you enjoyed the book. You may like the Pinterest board I made based on this book, as it contains lots of interesting historical finds pertaining to this story and the events surrounding this book.

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    1. I know what you mean, Claudine, I really enjoyed spending time with Jane too! I will have to check out your Pinterest board :)

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  4. Enjoyed your review, Ceri. I had the 12th book on my TBR list but have now added the rest. Thanks for mentioning your Pinterest board, Claudine.

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    1. Hi Janet, thanks for stopping by. I have all the previous series on my TBR too.

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  5. I agree. Barron does a great job blending real life facts and fiction. I love being engulfed in Austen's life. Thanks for the great review.

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    1. Hi Laurel Ann. I am with you, I loved the feeling that I was looking in on Austen's life, and I thought the author did a wonderful job of capturing Jane's voice.

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  6. Have been a fan of Stephanie and this series from book 1, looking forward to reading this next. Thanks for the review.

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    1. That's great. So far hearing great thingsite of the series as a whole. I'm going to look into it for sure! Added #12 and this one to my TBR list. Which other (s) would you recommend?

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    2. Hi Seth. If you've read the whole series then I'm confident you'll enjoy this book. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the giveaway.

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  7. Wow! Great review! Number 12 sure sounds great too! Adding that to my TBR list now. Thanks!

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    1. I enjoyed both books. I need to get the previous books in the series too, because while the books are stand-alone mysteries there are some references back to previous investigations. It's not confusing at all, butI think you'd enjoy it even more if you knew the references.

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  8. I love the interactions between the characters in the series.

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    1. Hi BookLuver. I thought the characterisations were very good in this book and the characters interacted well. I don't think you'll be disappointed :)

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    1. Thank you, Pailofpearls! Good luck with the giveaway :)

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  10. I feel the same way about how this series always makes me feel like I'm spending time with Jane and get to bump into 'real' situations and characters while I'm getting a fun mystery. Glad Raphael is back with Henry and Fanny to help her.
    Looking forward to my turn reading the latest. :)
    Nice review, Ceri!

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    1. That's exactly the thing I find the biggest draw about this series, Sophia, I love feeling like I'm part of Jane's life, it's just so well done.

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  11. This is one that is sitting by my chair. I just must find time to read it. I liked the earlier two I read in this series and actually do plan to read every one.

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    1. Hi Sheila, thanks for stopping by. I plan to read them all too at some point. Need to get hold of all of them first though :)

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  12. Thanks for a transparent review. I appreciate your honesty and look forward to reading the book.

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    1. Hi Laura, thanks for your comment. I hope you enjoy the book too when you read it :)

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  13. Replies
    1. Thanks, Denise! All the best in the giveaway.

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  14. I am a new follower to your blog and have enjoyed visiting. Thank you for sharing this great giveaway. I can't wait to read this book.

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    1. Thank you so much, Angela, it's always nice to hear that somebody has enjoyed stopping by :)

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  15. Thanks for drawing attention to this series, it's definitely a good one for Austen fans!

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    1. Hi Alisha, it's most definitely a good series for Austen fans :)

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  16. Somehow there is never enough Jane Austen in my life. On to the mystery...

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    1. Hi Jessica, I really enjoyed spending time with Jane while she solved this mystery. I hope you enjoy reading it too!

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