Thursday, February 10, 2022

Jane and the Year Without A Summer by Stephanie Barron blog tour - Sophia Rose Review - Austenprose PR

Welcome to the Jane and the Year Without A Summer Blog Tour, book #14 in the Being A Jane Austen Mystery series, by Stephanie Barron sponsored by Austenprose PR and featuring a review of the book by Sophia Rose!

Jane and the Year Without Summer by Stephanie Barron

#14 Being a Jane Austen Mystery

Historical Mystery

Publisher:  Soho Crime

Published: 2.8.22

Pages:  336

Rating: 5 stars

Format: ARC

Source: Author

About the Book:

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.




Advance Praise

“Outstanding...Barron fans will hope Jane, who died in 1817, will be back for one more mystery.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“No one conjures Austen's voice like Stephanie Barron, and Jane and the Year Without a Summer is utterly pitch-perfect.”— Deanna Raybourn, bestselling author of the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries

“…a page-turning story, imbued with fascinating historical detail, a cast of beautifully realized characters, a pitch-perfect Jane Austen, and an intriguing mystery. Highly recommended.”— Syrie James, bestselling author of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen

Jane and the Year Without a Summer is absolute perfection. Stephanie Barron expertly weaves fact and fiction, crafting a story that is authentically Austen in its elegance, charm, and wit. The characters and setting will enchant you, and the mystery will keep you guessing to the last page. This Regency-set gem is truly a diamond of the first water.”— Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author of The Siren of Sussex

Sophia Rose's Review:

Bringing to vibrant life a novelist who was obscure in her own time, but is now renowned the world-over for her witty and insightful glances into people set against her own time of Regency England at war, the Being a Jane Austen Mysteries series have melded real life chronicling with fictitious detecting ventures to a superb degree.  Each installment offers a clever mystery and a well-researched immersion into the life of Jane Austen and her family and friends set against the places and events Austen was known to have been and seen.  When I delve into these first person stories, I do not find it difficult at all to believe I am privy to the thoughts, words, and doings of Austen herself and it was no different for this latest venture.


It was with pleasure and a little trepidation that I took up this fourteenth book in a series that really should be enjoyed in order.  As regular series readers know and I mentioned above, the series follows the life of Austen and Austen lovers know that May of 1816 is uncomfortably close to the end of Austen’s stay on earth.  I wondered if this latest would feel dreary and morbid, but I am happy to report that it was no such thing though, yes, the author was faithful to Jane’s life story and it is obvious the dear lady is terribly ill.


The mystery occurs when Jane and her beloved sister Cassandra venture to Cheltenham for a fortnight of pampering and holidaying in the spa town using the proceeds from Jane’s recent well-sold Emma.  Jane’s family has seen a great many reversals of late from a few brothers’ finances and her own worsening health so she decides that getting away with just Cassandra and consulting the town’s renowned physician while enjoying some jollying activities in the off season and maybe getting some time to work on her latest novel about a ill-used Baronet’s daughter and a sea captain will be just the thing. 

Not long there and they find that their fellow lodgers are an eclectic group who aren’t exactly relaxing and some have some rather shocking secrets- one of which leads to a dangerous mystery Jane chooses to investigate with a surprise arrival at the spa town for her able-bodied assistant.


Jane and Year Without Summer was solid and meticulous in historical and biological detail, layered with engaging and curious characters, and complex with character storylines and a murder mystery that slowly built and resolved.  I thought the author did a stellar job of portraying Jane as she faced a devastating and mysterious complaint coming to terms with the likelihood she won’t survive her illness.  This personal story was heartwrenching, but she was so plucky and went about it with dignity so that the story never got maudlin.  It was quite easy to lose myself in the story and I wanted to devour it in one sitting even while also desiring to prolong my enjoyment.  I fingered the culprit early, the motive and means as well, but that did not diminish the book in the least.


All in all, it was as fabulous as I anticipated and I was sad to leave the Jane Austen Mystery world.  Those who enjoy clever, historical mysteries should definitely take up this series and I warn you that binging will likely take place.


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.





  1. Gorgeous cover too!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    1. Yes, this series has the best covers. And, the mysteries aren't bad either. ;)

  2. Lots of mysteries in that series :D

    1. Very much! I think you'd get a kick out of these, B. :)

  3. Wow this series deserves looking into Sophia Rose thanks for the fab review!

  4. This sounds like it was really well done.

    1. I love this series for how well the historical fiction side blends with the mysteries.

  5. Replies
    1. Yes, always good when a highly anticipated book meets expectation. :)

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sophia. I have read and enjoyed the entire series. I am so glad that you enjoyed this one as well.

    1. My pleasure, Laurel Ann! It has been a favorite series for years and I was thrilled to get the opportunity.