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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Blog Tour- MISS AUSTEN INVESTIGATES: THE HAPLESS MILLINER by @NovelistJessica With An Interview & #Giveaway! @UnionSqandCo

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the MISS AUSTEN INVESTIGATES: THE HAPLESS MILLINER by Jessica Bull Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About The Book:


Author: Jessica Bull

Pub. Date: February 27, 2024

Publisher: Union Square Co.

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 368

Find it: Goodreadshttps://books2read.com/THE-HAPLESS-MILLINER

A witty, engaging murder mystery featuring Jane Austen as an intrepid amateur sleuth—the first in a series.
Jane Austen—sparkling, spirited, and incredibly clever—is suddenly thrust into a mystery when a milliner’s dead body is found locked inside a cupboard in the middle of a ball. When Jane’s brother Georgy is found with some jewelry belonging to the deceased, the local officials see it as an open-and-shut case: one which is likely to end with his death. Jane is certain that he is innocent, and there is more to the murder than meets the eye. Her investigations send her on a journey through local society, as Jane’s suspect list keeps on growing— and her keen observational skills of people will be put to the test to solve the crime and save her brother. 

Featuring the same lively wit, insightful social commentary, and relatable characters that have made Jane Austen books into perennial classics, this first entry in the Miss Austen Investigates series is perfect for anyone who enjoyed The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl or other historical mystery books based on real people, as well as fans looking to add to their Jane Austen collection.



For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about your book and the characters?

My debut novel, Miss Austen Investigates: The Hapless Milliner, is a tribute to the life and work of Jane Austen in the form of a murder mystery. It begins with 33nineteen-year-old Jane enjoying a flirtation with a handsome gentleman at a glittering ball. Unfortunately, their romance is cut short when a milliner is found bludgeoned to death. Jane wants to solve the crime as she knew and respected the milliner, but the case turns personal after her gentle brother, Georgy, is accused. Now she has only seven weeks to find the true culprit, or Georgy will be hanged for a crime she knows he could never commit.


What are you working on now?

I’m editing The Foreign Princess, which is the second book in the Miss Austen Investigates series. In the summer of 1797, Jane travels to Kent to look after her brother Neddy’s children and further her writing. Once arrived, she realizes her time would be better spent uncovering the true identity of a mysterious young woman claiming to be a foreign princess, kidnapped by pirates and held for ransom, before the interloper can swindle Neddy’s adoptive mother out of her fortune and steal the much-anticipated inheritance all the Austens rely on.


Were any of the characters in The Hapless Milliner inspired by people from your real life?

Nearly all the characters are based on the real people in Austen’s life, rather than my own, and I have pieced together their lively personalities from surviving accounts and letters. But I must admit, whenever I was trying to come up with one of Mrs. Austen’s withering rebukes to her daughter, I would ask myself what my own mum might say!


Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?

My favorite was Jane: this series is really an excuse for me to spend as much time with, and take my readers as close to, my hero as possible. Mary was a surprise favorite. Austen and Mary Lloyd’s real-life relationship was complicated, as they were genuinely close but, after Mary married Austen’s eldest brother, James, their friendship became strained.

Despite this, when Austen was dying, it was Mary who Austen’s sister, Cassandra, turned to for help nursing her through her final illness. Cassandra knew she could trust Mary to care for Austen as no other would. I really wanted to convey this sense of a loyal friendship that could endure through the years, despite many differences of opinion and character.

I found it difficult to write about the actual murder, as I’m quite squeamish and very emotional. It was important for me to show Madame Renault was more than just ‘a victim’: I wanted her to be a character in her own right, whose life had been unfairly snatched away.


What is your favorite passage/scene in your book?

I took great delight in making all the things Austen did in real life integral to solving the mystery. In particular, there’s a ball scene at the center of the novel where Jane must dance with as many gentlemen as possible in order to further her investigation. It was enormous fun to imagine what such an occasion might have been like and to let Jane enjoy her flirtation with Tom Lefroy, even if it was only for a very brief moment. It was also exciting passage to write as all of the characters have their own motives for behaving suspiciously, and these are just about to explode into the narrative.


What kind of research did you have to do for the story?

I’m a huge Jane Austen fan and I spent years reading her work and researching her life before I even thought of writing about her. As I got closer to planning the novel, I set myself the challenge of understanding what it was like to physically inhabit Austen’s world, so I could make my portrayal as immersive as possible. I kept my own flock of hens, learnt to dance in the Georgian style, and I made and wore my own Regency-inspired gowns.

I also attempted to learn how to ride a horse - something which I later realized is very difficult as an adult. It did not go well, as you might be able to glean from Jane’s attitude to riding horseback in the story!


Lightning Round Questions


What are you reading right now?

Sarah Marsh’s A Sign Of Her Own (Park Row Books, June 2024) - an incredibly moving and fascinating story of a young deaf woman’s struggle to find acceptance.


Favorite social media site?

Instagram – I can spend hours watching reels of people recreating historical costumes.


Favorite Superhero or Villain?

Can I choose an Austen Villain? If so Lady Catherine de Bourgh is an absolute legend.


Favorite TV show?

Hulu’s The Great, which starred Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great of Russia. I especially love its tagline ‘an occasionally true story’, which could apply equally to Miss Austen Investigates.


Sweet or Salty?

Both – but I’m a chocoholic.


Any Phobias?

I used to be very afraid of big dogs, but I have my own little pooch now (Toby, a Jack Russel X Toy Poodle) and I’m working very hard to conquer this fear.


Song you can’t get enough of right now?

Shake It Out by Florence and the Machine. I always make a playlist to help set the mood for each of my writing projects and this is the unofficial theme song for the second Miss Austen Investigates.


2024 Movie you’re most looking forward to?

Argylle – because the idea of a writer getting to inhabit the world she created is irresistible.


Do you play video games? If so what are some of your favorites?

My husband installed a retro arcade machine in our lounge, so I’m reliving my youth by playing Street Fighter with my daughters. 


About Jessica Bull:

Jessica Bull grew up in southeast London, where she still lives with her husband, two daughters, and far too many pets. She’s addicted to stories and studied English Literature at Bristol University, and Information Science at City University, London. She began work as a librarian (under the false impression she could sit and read all day), before becoming a communications consultant. Miss Austen Investigates: The Hapless Milliner is her debut novel.


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Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of MISS AUSTEN INVESTIGATES: THE HAPLESS MILLINER, US Only.

Ends March 5th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


Kountry Girl Bookaholic

Guest Post/IG Post


Two Chicks on Books

Guest Post/IG Post



IG Review


Kim's Book Reviews and Writing Aha's

Review/IG Post



IG Review

Week Two:


Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post



IG Review/TikTok Post


Two Points of Interest



Confessions Of The Perfect Mom

Review/IG Post




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