It is 1843. Miss Anne Sharp was a former governess to Jane Austen’s brother Edward’s daughter Fanny at his estate Godmersham. She met Jane Austen while she worked for Edward and they struck up a lifelong friendship. Miss Sharp was given a lock of Jane’s hair after her death by her sister Cassandra. With a new test available, she sends the lock off to be tested for arsenic poison. When the test comes back positive, Miss Sharp’s suspicions are confirmed, her friend Jane was poisoned and she is determined to discover the culprit.
The novel reverts back to Miss Sharp’s memories of how she first met Jane and her family and their friendship throughout Jane’s life. Both Anne and Jane shared a love of books and Anne enjoyed Jane’s wit and keen observations about people. Anne’s keen observations about Jane’s own family makes her suspect that some family members were up to no good and leads to her dismissal from Edward’s household. Their friendship remains however up until the very end.
My favorite part of this novel was Jane Austen and her family brought to life on the pages. I loved reading about them through the years and imagining Jane in her life. It was wonderful reading and I tore through this novel quickly. I will admit though that the weakest part of the novel for me was the mystery. I don’t think it had a strong resolution at all and was a bit disappointed by the ending.
This is my fifth item for the Pride & Prejudice 2013 Bicentenary Challenge. For more about this novel, check out this guest blog by author Lindsay Ashford. Leave a comment while you are there for a chance to win a copy of this novel.
Book Source: Review Copy from Sourcebooks – Thanks!