Jane and the Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron ~ (Being A Jane Austen Mystery – Book 14) Blog Tour and Review – **TOP PICK**

Welcome to my stop on the Jane and the Year Without a Summer Blog Tour. Many, many thanks to Austenprose PR for the invitation!!


  • Title: Jane and the Year Without a Summer
  • Series: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 14)
  • Author: Stephanie Barron
  • Genre: Historical Mystery, Austenesque
  • Publisher: Soho Press (February 8, 2022)
  • Length: (336) pages
  • Format: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook
  • ISBN: 978-1641292474
  • Tour Dates: February 7-20, 2022


May 1816: Jane Austen is feeling unwell, with an uneasy stomach, constant fatigue, rashes, fevers and aches. She attributes her poor condition to the stress of family burdens, which even the drafting of her latest manuscript—about a baronet’s daughter nursing a broken heart for a daring naval captain—cannot alleviate. Her apothecary recommends a trial of the curative waters at Cheltenham Spa, in Gloucestershire. Jane decides to use some of the profits earned from her last novel, Emma, and treat herself to a period of rest and reflection at the spa, in the company of her sister, Cassandra.

Cheltenham Spa hardly turns out to be the relaxing sojourn Jane and Cassandra envisaged, however. It is immediately obvious that other boarders at the guest house where the Misses Austen are staying have come to Cheltenham with stresses of their own—some of them deadly. But perhaps with Jane’s interference a terrible crime might be prevented. Set during the Year without a Summer, when the eruption of Mount Tambora in the South Pacific caused a volcanic winter that shrouded the entire planet for sixteen months, this fourteenth installment in Stephanie Barron’s critically acclaimed series brings a forgotten moment of Regency history to life.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 5 stars

Jane Austen is feeling poorly, so at her apothecary’s suggestion she quits Chawton Cottage with her sister Cassandra (and her niece who will be deposited with her brother James and his wife), and heads to Cheltenham Spa in Gloucestershire for a fortnight. Drinking the curative waters there is expected to restore the unwell back to good health. Even though this is a financially precarious time for Jane and her family, she uses the proceeds from her book, Emma, to spend the time away to acquire some rest and relaxation, and to hopefully be cured from what ails her. What she doesn’t expect, however, is to encounter mischief, mayhem and murder amongst the lodgers and acquaintances in her midst.

I LOVED this book!! It is masterfully written and I still can’t stop thinking about it weeks after reading it!! There’s all the makings of a classic British whodunnit suffused with wit, excellent characters, atmospheric charm, and an intriguing plot. Jane Austen narrates this tale. Her detailed account of the mystery in the making sent me into chuckles and brought a mature Jane Austen to life in the most delightful way. The author nails the stirring, emotional ending. 🥲

I adored the characters which consisted of a doomsday cleric and his judgmental, gossipmonger wife and their little pug, Thucydides; a young invalid prone to swooning and hysterics; a theater instructor with secrets; a Captain with a dodgy leg, amongst others, and even a formerly acquainted suitor for Jane who makes an appearance in Gloucestershire to Jane’s astonishment and delight.

The language was reminiscent of the era and I employed my dictionary on several occasions to more fully understand certain words and phrases. My knowledge grew and I benefited greatly whilst reading this book. Even the title of the book was an education. The Year Without a Summer refers to 1816, the year following the eruption of Mount Tambora in the South Pacific which occurred in 1815 and caused average global temperatures to decrease resulting in severe climate anomalies. Jane’s trip to Cheltenham is affected by this weather phenomenon. It is continually raining. A clever backdrop to this mystery.

I became so enamored with this book that I looked into the author’s backlist to add others of hers to my future reading, and have since purchased the first book of the series. I can’t imagine anyone who has an affinity for Jane Austen and/or mysteries to be disappointed by this book. It is splendid, and very highly recommended!!

Special thanks to Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose PR, Stephanie Barron and Soho Press for a complimentary copy of Jane and the Year Without A Summer and the incredibly generous swag, none of which influenced my opinions of this book which are exclusively my own.


“Outstanding…Barron fans will hope Jane, who died in 1817, will be back for one more mystery.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“No one conjures Austen’s voice like Stephanie Barron, and Jane and the Year Without a Summer is utterly pitch-perfect.”— Deanna Raybourn, bestselling author of the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries

“…a page-turning story, imbued with fascinating historical detail, a cast of beautifully realized characters, a pitch-perfect Jane Austen, and an intriguing mystery. Highly recommended.”— Syrie James, bestselling author of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen 

“Jane and the Year Without a Summer is absolute perfection. Stephanie Barron expertly weaves fact and fiction, crafting a story that is authentically Austen in its elegance, charm, and wit. The characters and setting will enchant you, and the mystery will keep you guessing to the last page. This Regency-set gem is truly a diamond of the first water.”— Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author of The Siren of Sussex


Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written twenty-five books, including five novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-Season, Death in Rough Water, Death in a Mood Indigo, Death in a Cold Hard Light, and Death on Nantucket) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the penname, Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.




14 thoughts on “Jane and the Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron ~ (Being A Jane Austen Mystery – Book 14) Blog Tour and Review – **TOP PICK**

    • Me too!! And I absolutely love all of the variations and retellings of her novels. They’re wonderful!!
      I can’t wait to get started on the puzzle!! 😀
      Thanks so much for visiting. 😊


    • That’s exactly right, Laurel Ann. I felt as though I was truly observing Jane Austen herself!! Thank you so much for the privilege of participating in these blog tours. You’ve introduced me to many new authors that have become my favorites, as well as invigorated my love for historical mysteries and historical romance books. ☺️


  1. Sounds like an excellent read and the fact a reader could read this one first and then if wanted can backtrack. I am reading P&P at the moment and liking it because it somehow depths the characters more than the movies I’ve seen, although I did enjoy them too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the sound of this one Laurie. I can’t think of a better endorsement than you going back and buying the first in the series. I am not a huge Jane Austen fan, but the setting, time and the fact that it is a mystery, it does intrigue me. Wonderful review.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds great. The plot and characters are interesting and you get to learn background information too. Win-win! After our current C.S. Lewis book, my book club is reading a version Sense and Sensibility that includes introduction and footnotes by Karen Swallow Prior. After that would be the perfect time for me to try this series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I absolutely adored this book, Linda. This one and Josi S. Kilpack’s Love and Lavender were my favorite books read in 2021.
      I think I’m being pulled into this genre because the books I’ve been reading have been so enjoyable. I’m finding myself longing to read another when I’m laboring through a contemporary fiction novel. 🤦🏽‍♀️
      I hope you enjoy Sense and Sensibility. My favorite was Persuasion, but I haven’t read Northanger Abbey or Mansfield Park yet.

      Liked by 1 person

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