MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books, now with a re-vamped banner!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by Julia Golding
Cover Illustration by Laura Tolton
Published by Lion Hudson

Over the summer I visited Jane Austen’s house in Chawton and took this wonderful book along with me.  I just had to get a photo beside Jane Austen’s writing desk!

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

Cassandra knew Jane was brewing revolution against Mama’s edict so moved quickly.

This book in three words:

MYSTERY, SISTERHOOD, FRIENDSHIP

Young Jane Austen returns to solve another intriguing mystery in The Burglar’s Ball, a charming, witty and incredibly entertaining read.  I relished every moment of this captivating delight!

Much as Jane would prefer to spend her summer eating pilfered sugar plums whilst reading outside and playing cricket with her father’s pupils at Steventon Rectory, she is drawn into another adventure when her older, much-loved sister Cassandra is invited to attend a summer ball at their old boarding school, Reading Abbey Girls’ School, and she is determined to bring a rather reluctant Jane with her.

Soon after their arrival, Jane discovers that the headmistress, Madame La Tournelle, is in financial difficulties and is looking to better her fortunes by securing new boarders:  wealthy sisters Elinor and Marianne recently returned with their father from India, and their cousin Lucy. 

Whilst accomplished dancers Cassandra and Elinor throw themselves into the excitement of preparing for the ball under the tutelage of the debonair dancing master, Mr Willoughby, Jane befriends his young assistant, flautist Brandon. He reveals that he is a former slave who has escaped from a navy ship to take up his role with his new employer. He proves himself a wonderful friend in his support for Jane to improve her confidence in dancing.

Jane is not long at the school before she finds herself with a mystery to solve when a diamond necklace is stolen from a locked room on the evening of the ball.  Can Jane and her friends unmask the real culprit before an innocent person is imprisoned for a burglary he didn’t commit?

This is a wonderfully fast-paced, clever and exciting mystery which unfolds perfectly as clues are unearthed, trails are followed and truths are revealed. 

Jane is such an incredibly likeable young heroine who is willing to stand up to injustice and to challenge prejudice.  She is kind-hearted, has a sparkling wit and a determined nature.  I loved that she got to meet up with old friends and to make new friendships. I also really enjoyed reading Jane’s letters home to her brother which are sprinkled throughout the story:  sharp-witted, clever and amusing.

For fans of Jane Austen’s work, there are some wonderful allusions to Sense and Sensibility to be uncovered and enjoyed.  This story also gives a fascinating insight into late eighteenth century high society from its different forms of entertainment to the effects of imperialism and the prejudices and stereotypes inherent in society.  I really liked how the reader is given Jane’s thoughts, reactions and feelings about different aspects of society which could offer some wonderful opportunities for discussion.

This is a truly entrancing, exciting mystery that immersed me in a gorgeously Austenesque world that I utterly adored. I have no doubt that it will be enjoyed by both younger and older fans of historical mystery.

Thank you to Lion Hudson for a advance proof in exchange for my honest opinion.

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

3 thoughts on “MG Takes on Thursday

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