Title: Secrets in the Snow by Michaela MacColl
Category: YA Fiction
Genre: Mystery / Romance
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Published: Oct 4, 2016
Hardcover, 288 pages
Content rating: G
Jane Austen's family is eager to secure her future by marrying her off. But Jane is much more interested in writing her novels, and finds every suitor lacking—until the mysterious Mr. Lefroy arrives. Could he be the one? Before Jane can find out, she must solve a murder, clear her family's name, and face a decision that might cost her true love.
Based on the real lives of Jane Austen, her family and Tom Lefroy, author Michaela MacColl has written a cozy YA mystery novel that is sure to please Austenesque fans of all ages. Jane meets the mysterious Tom Lefroy to whom she becomes attracted just as she discovers a secret that could potentially ruin her family's reputation. How these two events in her life converge is the basis for this intriguing and romantic tale.
The author builds a strong intelligent character in Jane, as any reader would expect from a fictionalized account of Jane Austen's life. We also have the flamboyant and refreshing cousin Eliza, who is suspected of treason by the War Office, and Jane's handsome brother Henry who is enamored with Eliza. Finally, the initially arrogant Mr. Lefroy is very Darcy-like in how he gets taken in by Jane and her intellect.
Lovers of Jane Austen's literature will note how some characters and situations in this book hint at what Jane would go on to write in her future novels. For young readers unfamiliar with the Regency era or Jane Austen, this novel is a great way to introduce them to a literary icon. Jane's refusal of adhering to conventions and her moral integrity shape her character and her decisions in this book.
I enjoyed the plot tremendously, however, the abrupt ending of Jane's romance with Mr. Lefroy and her lack of emotions about his choice left me a little cold at the end. She should have experienced some heartbreak for a man she would have considered as a future husband. Apart from this unimpassioned ending, this was a charming take on the life of a young sleuth Jane Austen.
Disclosure: Thanks to Raincoast Books for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.