Book Review | The Jane Austen Investigates by Julia Golding

Title: Jane Austen Investigates
Julia Golding
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Jane Austen turns detective in this spooky historical adventure by award-winning author Julia Golding!

It’s 1789 and a young Jane Austen turns detective as she seeks to solve the mysterious happenings at Southmoor Abbey. When a carriage accident forces a change of plans, 13-year-old Jane is sent to be a companion to Lady Cromwell for a week as the household prepares to celebrate the eldest son’s coming-of-age party. While there, Jane vows to solve the mystery of the ghostly monk in the Abbey grounds – for she does not believe in such stories!

But this is not the only strange occurrence for the adventurous young Jane to investigate. There are shivery night-time investigations, an Indian girl with secret talents, a library fire, two prize horses in danger, and friends to save from false accusations.

With notebook in hand and her faithful dog Grandison by her side, will Jane overcome the continuous obstacles and find out the truth?


The Abbey Mystery is a perfect blend of the classic Austen style and a Nancy Drew mystery. Jane Austen is a spirited young woman, sent to the Cromwell household to keep Lady Cromwell company for a week until her son’s birthday party and ball. She is somewhat bored, due to her obligations, but soon uncovers a legend about a vengeful ghost that haunts the Abbey located next to the house, and so she decides to investigate. Will Jane be able to stay out of trouble as recommended by her mother? Or will she cave in to her curiosity?

This book was absolutely charming; I wasn’t sure what to expect going in… having never read Jane Austen, but I was honestly so pleasantly surprised by this book. Classic books and I don’t get along but I really enjoyed this modern take on an old, classic author.

I’ve heard so much about Jane Austen, ever since I joined the book community a few months ago, and was very excited to read The Abbey Mystery by Julia Golding which puts a young Jane as the protagonist. Jane Austen was a woman ahead of her time, proving just how much a clever girl can achieve – whether society is ready for it or not! In The Abbey Mystery, Jane is a heroine for the next generation. Her story is the perfect introduction to the world of Jane Austen, for new readers as well as a deliciously nostalgic journey for those who are already long-term fans. I truly hope that this book is the first of a series of wonderful mysteries.

I would highly recommend the story to middle-grade readers who enjoy delving into the world of historical mystery

About the Author

Julia Golding

My journey to becoming an author has been a roundabout one, taking in many other careers. I grew up on the edge of Epping Forest and was that dreamy kind of child who was always writing stories. After reading English at Cambridge, I decided to find out as much as I could about the wider world so joined the Foreign Office and served in Poland. My work as a diplomat took me from the high point of town twinning in the Tatra Mountains to the low of inspecting the bottom of a Silesian coal mine.

On leaving Poland, I exchanged diplomacy for academia and took a doctorate in the literature of the English Romantic Period at Oxford. I then joined Oxfam as a lobbyist on conflict issues, campaigning at the UN and with governments to lessen the impact of conflict on civilians living in war zones – a cause about which I still feel very passionate.

Married with three children, I now live in Oxford between two rivers, surrounded by gargoyles, beautiful sandstone buildings and ancient trees.

My first novel, ‘The Diamond of Drury Lane’, won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2006 and the Nestle Children’s Book Prize 2006 (formerly known as the Smarties Prize). I was also chosen by Waterstone’s in 2007 as one of their ‘Twenty-five authors for the future’. In the US, ‘Secret of the Sirens’ won the honor book medal of the Green Earth Book Award.

My latest series, which starts with Mel Foster and the Demon Butler, about an intrepid Victorian orphan who lives in a household of monsters, won Bronze in the Primary Teacher awards in 2015. The next part, Mel Foster and the Time Machine, has set the time-dial to arrive in 2016. 

One thought on “Book Review | The Jane Austen Investigates by Julia Golding

  1. THE COVER *IS* GORGEOUS. Great review!! I got both this and the sequel on NetGalley and I’m starting to love Julia golding’s work, it’s so fun! I don’t normally read mg but it was a refreshing change, even if I did solve it about half way through so it was a bit frustrating having to read the other half!! However I thought it was like you said a fun quick read and I really enjoyed Jane and cassandras relationship. Here’s my review 🙂


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