Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Jane and the Waterloo Map leads you to a true treasure of a mystery tale

In signing up for this blog tour for Stephanie Barron's latest entry in her Jane Austen mystery series, Jane and the Waterloo Map, I was a little concerned about how easily I could get into the story.

 After all, this is the thirteenth novel in a series that I've always been meaning to read at some point yet never have gotten beyond the first couple of pages with any of the prior books. Well, I'm happy to report that J&TWM was as comfortable to slip into as a pair of gloves, with a nice new lining that made it feel fresh and new.

It does help greatly if you're familiar with Jane Austen's bio, as our story begins in 1815 where Jane has gone to London to look after her brother Henry, who is experiencing some ill health and a bad run on his finances, due to the outcome of the recent war with Napoleon. Her visit is twofold, as preparations for her next novel Emma are underway and while she waits for the galleys for her editorial approval, an unusual invitation comes her way.

The Prince Regent's chaplain, James Stanier Clarke, extends an offer on the behalf of HRH(who happens to be a fan of her novels) to take a tour of Carlton House and even make use of the royal library to work in while she's in town. Despite her keen distaste for the Prince Regent, Jane is well aware of how beneficial to her book sales such a connection would be, so she accepts the invitation and endures the rattling company of Clarke, who has a lot more in common with a certain Mr. Collins that he realizes:

During her visit, Jane is encouraged to dedicate her new novel to the Prince Regent, which would certainly boost the profits to be earned from it.

 Before she can properly consider that idea, a shocking discovery in the library changes the course of the day quite completely In a corner, a dying man is discovered and as Clarke rushes off to get the court physician Matthew Baillie, Jane alone hears his last words:"Waterloo map!"

The victim turns out to be a military man, Colonel MacFarland, who  was one of the heroes of the battle of Waterloo. The map in question is soon found in a book and has a brief letter written in French on the back, urging it's intended reader to protect the map as it leads to something that Napoleon himself would be eager to claim upon the outcome of the battle:

While Jane is strongly encouraged not to look into the matter, she can't resist learning more about it, particularly when she comes across evidence that Col. MacFarland was poisoned.

In her quest to find the killer as well as discover the true purpose of the map, Jane enlists the aid of Raphael West, son of renowned artist Benjamin West, who happens to also be a government spy.

Even her visiting niece Fanny does a little undercover work, posing as a budding painter in order to draw out the actual artist who drew up the map and who also might be the murderer:

This investigation is not without risks, as Jane rather painfully discovers and while her injuries are slight, the real danger to her allies is all too heavy to bear. Can the Waterloo map lead them all to justice or to more horrible crimes yet to come?

Stephanie Barron has a sure and steady hand in creating this mystery realm for Jane Austen and her blend of fact and fiction(well assisted with a few historical footnotes) makes for a tempting tea cup of tension that is worth slowly sipping through page by page.

I do wish that I had taken on her books much sooner but regrets in reading can be quickly remedied by a good book or two and fortunately, the pleasure of catching with this engaging series is soon to be mine. Jane and the Waterloo Map may be a unlikely start for a newcomer but it's a very agreeable one and there is no doubt that regular fans of this series will be pleased with this current gem.

I hope that everyone is enjoying this delightful blog tour for Jane and the Waterloo Map and if you are interested in winning one of the prize packs from Stephanie Barron's website at the end of it, please leave a comment at this post as well as one at the review that Austenprose is posting today.

You can also leave comments at the other tour stops, such as the next stop at Mystery Fanfare on Monday and Laura's Reviews on the following Tuesday. The deadline is February 29 and the winners will be announced on March 3 at Stephanie Barron's official website, so make haste, I beg you!

And in the spirit of the day, I wish you all a very happy Valentine's Day with a special hope that Jane Austen's wonderful world of romance adds greatly to your happiness:


Just Commonly said...

Great review. I also have not read the other books in the series, so I feel and am grateful for your sentiments. This one sure sounds like a good one and I hope I'll get to read it soon! Annie JC

Linda said...

Thanks for posting the little video clips as part of your blog. I love these books. Everyone I've loaned mine to has as well.

pdxirishgirl said...

Enjoy these posts so much! Am so
excited to read this new book in the

pdxirishgirl said...

Enjoyed reading this and am excited to
read the newest book in the series!
Happy Valentine's Day

Caryl Kane said...

Excellent review! I am so excited to have discovered this series.
Happy Valentine's Day

Laurel Ann (Austenprose) said...

Great review Tara. I loved the suspense elements in this novel and the twist at the end. I am glad you enjoyed it also. I am looking forward to the next installment.

Seth Carrico said...

Love a good mystery and add Jane Austen. I am hooked, have loved this series from the beginning. Looking forward to reading this next installment.

Stephanie Barron said...

Thanks for all the Jane love on Valentine's Day, folks! Glad to know you're getting through the winter with good books.

Summer Mobley said...

The longer I follow this blog tour, the more I want to read this whole series!

Joanna said...

Great review. I've loved the series and can't wait to add this one to my collection.

lady t said...

Thank you,Laurel Ann and much thanks to Stephanie Barron, whom I am happy to spread the good word about this lovely book for! Everyone else, thank you as well and please enjoy the rest of the blog tour:)

lynnquiltsalot said...

Can't wait to read this latest book in the series. I've loved them all.

Alisha said...

Very excited about this book, as Stephanie Barron always does a great job with Austen's era and character!

Angela Holland said...

Thank you for sharing and I enjoyed reading your comments and watching the video. You have a nice blog.

Raquel Muniz said...

So happy that there is a new book in this series. It is on my TBR list. Thanks for the opportunity to win such a great prize.

pailofpearls said...

I think I'll brush up on Jane's bio before reading.