I love a good historical novel with romance or mystery thrown into the mix, so I thought Secrets in the Snow by Michaela MacColl would be an ideal read for me. While the first 80% of the novel was wonderful, throwing too much in at the end of the book ruined it for me.
This book uses Jane Austen as a fictional character, exploring her family and love life. Her mother wants to find her a husband, but Jane refuses to lower her standards. She wants a man who will love her for all of her traits including her strong mind and need to write. When she meets Mr. Tom Lefroy, he’s arrogant and rude. However, as they get to know one another, they come to appreciate each other’s quirks. Could this possibly be love? When someone is murdered on the parsonage grounds, will the resolution push Jane and Tom apart?
I found Jane to be an interesting and intelligent character for most of the novel. Her love story with Tom wasn’t instantaneous which made it believable. I was thoroughly enjoying myself up until the author threw in the dead body. Why she waited until the last 15-20% of the book is a mystery to me. It made the investigation move way too quickly and predictably. The two people who were suspected were actually the perpetrators – no red herrings. Also, the way that Jane reacted to the murderers was ridiculous. It immediately made me dislike the character I had been enjoying throughout most of the book. The murder absolutely ruined the story for me.
If you’re a historical fiction fan and you think you can overlook the poorly done mystery at the end of this novel, give it a try. Otherwise, I suggest trying a historical mystery such as the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn. They’re much more complex and entertaining.
2.5 out of 5 stars