Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy is one Stephanie Barron’s ‘Being A Jane Austen Mystery’ series.
I’ve read a few others in this series and enjoyed them. Each story involves Jane Austen as a character, set in a known location that the real Jane Austen either lived in or visited during her lifetime, and have a mystery which Jane uses her detective skills to solve.
Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy is a sadder, darker story than the others I have so far read. Jane, Mrs Austen and Jane’s sister Cassandra have recently moved to Chawton Cottage in Hampshire. Jane is mourning Sir Harold Trowbridge, who she has known and loved since earlier books in the series. Sir Harold, who was known as The Rogue, left his diaries and letters in a bequest to Jane, with the intention that she write his memoirs.
Soon after they arrive at Chawton Cottage, Jane finds a dead man in the cellar. He was a local labourer, who had recently been boasting to his neighbours that he had information which would lead to him becoming a rich man. Jane attends the Coroner’s Court and of course, becomes involved in searching out the truth of the labourer’s death and other mysteries in the neighbourhood.
All the while Jane and her family are battling the dislike of the entire village, because Jane’s brother Edward removed the ‘widow Seward’ from Chawton Cottage, to make a home for Mrs Austen and her daughters. Sir Harold’s legacy has also tarnished Jane’s reputation.
I’ve believed the character of Jane Austen in each of the books I’ve read in this series, including Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy, although this is not the best book of the series, as the story was too complicated. It was interesting to have new characters introduced, such as Miss Benn, who the author advises was the role model for poor Miss Bates in Emma. Mrs Austen is also annoyingly similar to Mrs Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, which I can’t believe she was in real life, but sadly, there was no sign of any characters resembling either Mr Darcy or Colin Firth.
I haven’t read the ‘Being a Jane Austen Mystery’ stories in order, but probably should have. While the books do stand alone, I hadn’t realised Jane loved Sir Harold from the books I’ve already read. I’m continuing to look forward to reading more of this series.