Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Brewing up a pot of Jane Austen Mystery tea for the Christmas Spirit Readathon

I know that next week is all about Thanksgiving but I will be getting a head start on the yuletide season by joining in Seasons of Reading's Christmas Spirit Readathon which begins on November 21 and ends on the 27th.

While all of the books you read for this challenge don't have to be about Christmas, my picks for this readathon do have that theme along with two other common threads for this literary quilt; Jane Austen and mysteries. Odd pairing, you may say, especially for this time of year but let me show you just how sweetly suitable all three of my CSR selections are for this particular occasion:

JANE AND THE WANDERING EYE: After taking part in the blog tour for Stephanie Barron's latest entry in her Jane Austen Mystery series(Jane and the Waterloo Map), I decided that it was high time for me to check out some of the earlier books and happy to discover that the third title does have a holiday setting of sorts.

The story takes place during the Christmas season of 1804, where our Miss Austen is growing weary of Bath. Her spirits are enliven by a commission from her friend Lord Harold Trowbridge, who asks Jane to keep an eye on his visiting niece Lady Desdemona.

Jane's shadowing of Lady Desdemona fits into her social schedule well but during a party with theatrical folk, a murder takes place that leaves an unusual eye symbol near the victim. This sets off a few other untimely deaths that point the blame towards Lady D's brother and gives Jane more reason to aid her good friend in this sinister inquiry. Lord Harold is a strictly fictional character in this series yet I would like to see how well he and Jane get on at this stage of the game:

JANE AND THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: While I do want to explore the rest of the series in somewhat chronological order, it was hard to resist picking this one in time for the holidays.

Here, we meet up with Jane in 1814 as she is spending the Christmas season at the celebrated estate of the Chute family. She is more than pleased to be enjoying the festivities with family and friends, not to mention her delight at Mansfield Park doing brisk business at the booksellers.

That good time is cut short when a visiting naval officer dies under suspicious circumstances that may be related to the tension still rising from the conclusion of the War of 1812.  Murder and merriment aren't the traditional mix for a holiday party but I'm sure that Jane and friends will be able to engage in a dance or two while solving this chilling crime:

THE MISCHIEF OF THE MISTLETOE: Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series has a number of delightful heroes and heroines playing spy games in Regency England and in this special Christmas edition, the spotlight is turned on a seemingly silly sidekick who is braver than he appears.

 Reginald "Turnip" Fitzhugh has unexpectedly come across adventure before yet upon visiting his sister Sally at school, is surprised by the talents of Arabella Dempsey, a new teacher who uncovers a deadly plot with the unlikely clue being a Christmas pudding.

Arabella also happens to be a good friend of Jane Austen, who makes a delightful appearance here, yet it is Turnip who proves to be her best ally in putting this particular message of national importance into the right hands. This is a reread for me and one that I'm most pleased to revisit. Turnip may not be a slick spy master yet he proves that old adage about a sharp dressed man:

There's still plenty of time to sign up for the Christmas Spirit readathon(you can follow along on Facebook or the Twitter hashtag #CSreadathon) and there is also a longer reading challenge for the holidays that you can sign up for at the Christmas Spirit blog. I do believe that the prizes for this readathon will be extra special but let us keep in mind that reading is it's own reward.

Jane Austen never fails to lift my spirits and the way things are this year, we need all of the joy that we can get. Of course, Austen antics are good for all seasons yet they do add that extra bit of holiday sparkle that makes the season brighter than ever:


Michelle Miller said...

So glad you're joining us for another readathon! I love your theme! Let me tell you too...I read The Mischief of the Mistletoe a few years back and loved it. I love Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series. I'm also going to have to get my hands on those Jane Austen titles by Stephanie Barron.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the readathon!

lady t said...

Thanks, Michelle! I think you'll really enjoy the Stephanie Barron series, it's a lot of fun:)