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In her classic tale, Charlotte Brontë introduced readers to the strong-willed and intelligent Jane Eyre. The Jane Eyre Chronicles pick up where Brontë left off, with Jane married to her beloved Edward Rochester and mother to a young son. But Jane soons finds herself having to protect those she loves…
While extensive repairs are being made to Ferndean, their rural home, Jane and Edward accept an invitation from their friend Lucy Brayton to stay with her in London. Jane is reluctant to abandon their peaceful life in the countryside, but Edward’s damaged vision has grown worse. She hopes that time in the capital will buoy his spirits and give him the chance to receive treatment from an ocular specialist.
Once in London, the Rochesters accompany Lucy to the Italian Opera House. But there is more drama in the audience than on stage—Jane not only unexpectedly finds herself in the presence of King George and his mistress, Lady Conygham, she also encounters an old nemesis in the form of Lady Ingram (whose daughter, Blanche, once hoped to wed Edward herself). The aging dowager deals both Jane and Lucy a very public snub; hoping to mitigate the social damage caused by this, Lucy insists on visiting the Ingrams the next day. The visit goes poorly from the start—and ends with Lady Ingram dropping dead in the midst of taking tea. It soon becomes clear that the dowager’s death was an unnatural one, and Jane must set her considerable intelligence to the problem of solving it—and why the throne appears to have an interest …
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Series:||Jane Eyre Chronicles Series , #2|
|Product dimensions:||5.14(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.82(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Joanna Campbell Slan is the Agatha Award–nominated author of over twenty books. She grew up in a small town in Indiana, where she read and reread her two favorite books, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Jane Eyre. After traveling the world and living in England, she now divides her time between homes in McLean, Virginia, and on Jupiter Island, Florida.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have a confession to make: I’ve never read Jane Eyre. However, after enjoying The Death of a Dowager, I want to read the classic Charlotte Bronte novel and author Joanna Campbell Slan has accomplished her goal of The Jane Eyre Chronicles series – to introduce more readers to the delightful world of Jane Eyre. I read The Death of a Dowager (book 2 in the series) without benefit of first reading The Death of a Schoolgirl (book 1) and had little difficulty in acclimating myself. At first, the number of characters was a bit overwhelming, but the primary and secondary characters were quickly sorted out. I usually prefer novels with contemporary settings, but from the first chapter, I connected with Jane, Edward, Lucy and their world. Being relatively new to the ‘cozy mystery’ genre, I’ve searched for a series with an interesting plot beyond the facts surrounding the obligatory murder. The Jane Eyre Chronicles fits the bill, immersing readers in the life and times of 1800’s England. I highly recommend The Death of a Dowager and plan to read The Death of a Schoolgirl while waiting for the third book in this interesting series. The above opinions are my own; thanks to the author for providing a complimentary copy of the novel.
While extensive repairs are being made to Ferndean, their rural home, Jane and Edward accept an invitation from their friend Lucy Brayton to stay with her in London. Jane is reluctant to abandon their peaceful life in the countryside, but Edward’s damaged vision has grown worse. She hopes that time in the capital will buoy his spirits and give him the chance to receive treatment from an ocular specialist. Once in London, the Rochesters accompany Lucy to the Italian Opera House. But there is more drama in the audience than on stage—Jane not only unexpectedly finds herself in the presence of King George and his mistress, Lady Conygham, she also encounters an old nemesis in the form of Lady Ingram (whose daughter, Blanche, once hoped to wed Edward herself). The aging dowager deals both Jane and Lucy a very public snub; hoping to mitigate the social damage caused by this, Lucy insists on visiting the Ingrams the next day. The visit goes poorly from the start—and ends with Lady Ingram dropping dead in the midst of taking tea. It soon becomes clear that the dowager’s death was an unnatural one, and Jane must set her considerable intelligence to the problem of solving it—and why the throne appears to have an interest … Jane Eyre is one of those books we are forced to read in school but it very quickly became one of my all time favorite stories. I also loved the first story in this series, Death of a Schoolgirl, which landed on my list of Best Reads of 2012. Joanna Campbell Slan has a true gift, she doesn’t just write or tell a story. She drops the reader right into it. We are in the opera house, at tea, walking the sooty streets of London. I wasn’t just reading the story, I was living it. The entire story was intriguing as we step back in time to the read of royalty, political, social and medical customs. The “ton” was very important to London’s elite and the slightest snub by another member could change life drastically. Being dropped from the group was a fear of all the members. Living outside of London Jane did not fully understand their power, she really didn’t care until she learned how important this status was to her friend Lucy. This story is beautifully written and has a definite Brontë feel. Following Jane, Edward and their family as they move past the pages of Jane Eyre is a pure pleasure. The Jane Eyre Chronicles can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. It is time to introduce Jane Eyre to our daughters. These stories are sure to become classics from our time. This is going to be a Best Read 2013. An extraordinary story that should not be missed. Imagine me shouting from the rooftops “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!”
Following the fire that destroyed Ferndean and cost her beloved husband Edward Rochester his eye and hand, Jane Eyre accepts an invitation from her friend Lucy Brayton to stay with her in London while her own husband is off serving the king in India. Not only will this venture allow Edward's beloved manservant to recover from a fall, but it will also place Edward closer to a healer whose herbal practices may help restore Edward's failing eyesight. Unfortunately, Jane is not prepared for the cutthroat ways of noble British society and a devastating meeting with her former rival's domineering mother jeopardizes both her and Lucy's reputations and risks their being shunned. Even an invitation from the sovereign King George IV would not help to salvage their positions, as what goes on in front of the King does not reflect what goes on behind him. When the dowager Lady Ingram falls from what is soon believed to be suspicious circumstances, her society-climbing daughter Blanche has no qualms about hurling accusations that would damage Lucy, Jane, and Edward. Even as this investigation ensues Jane is entrusted with the care of a letter of the King's with potentially explosive repercussions. A known lothario despite his less than fairy tale Prince Charming appearance (obese, hairy, and with a cane), the faux soldier hides a previous marriage and potential heir to the throne. Jane will have to use all of her considerable wiles to outfox those in contention for the letter and reveal the culprit who wished the very unlikable Lady Ingram dead. Anyone attempting the recreate the writings of Charlotte Bronte and the characters who are beloved by generations risks falling short and seeming to be but a pale imitation. Thankfully, Joanna Campbell Slan more than proves her skills at writing the dialogue, tone, and characters familiar to fans of Jane Eyre. Along with the reader, Jane is exposed to the classism of 1821 England and how a few words from the wrong person can have calamitous repercussions on one's future. The mystery is as written with as much care as the romantic love between Jane and Edward and the author does an admirable job at honoring these beloved characters. This is a fun and loving tribute to Bronte and fans will enjoy the continuation of one of literature's most cherished icons. -Cindy Chow
** Also posted at Blue Moon Mystery Saloon blog ** Ms. Slan has crafted a delightful and interesting follow-up to her widely acclaimed mystery, Death of a Schoolgirl. Death of a Dowager is set in May 1821, a few months prior to the coronation of King George IV. Jane, her beloved husband Edward, their son Ned, and Edward's ward Adele are staying in the London townhouse of their friend Lucy Brayton while their manor in Yorkshire is undergoing major repairs. Lucy is thrilled to have the Rochesters visiting and wants Jane to experience some of the delights of high society. While at a major ton event, Lady Ingram and her daughters, who are Yorkshire neighbors of the Rochesters, haughtily snub Lucy and Jane in front of a large group of the ton. This slight can affect Lucy's good standing in high society, and she is devastated. The Ingrams continue to be rude to Jane and Lucy, despite interference run by Lucy's great friend, Lady Grainger, who unfortunately is related to the Ingrams. Jane also possesses a letter that, if released, could cause damage to the king. If the note winds up in the wrong hands, major protests and widespread havoc could break out among the country's populace, many of whom starve while the king spends a fortune on his coronation. The king, his mistress and even the note's original recipient try to obtain the letter by threatening the health and/or social standing of Jane's family and friends. But Jane maintains her objectivity and resilience while avoiding the manipulative attacks thrown her way. Death of a Dowager is written in a style similar to that of Charlotte Bronte, the author of Jane Eyre, and to other authors from that era. Once I read through the first chapter, I felt comfortable with the different writing style and found the story easy to follow and very entertaining. The major plots and subplots are believable, and Slan does a great job at weaving them together. She is masterful at infusing her Jane Eyre mysteries with the real social and political conditions of the time. Her detailed research shines throughout the book, highlighting real events of the day along with daily life in industrial London. She even has her characters talk about and apply various advancements in medicine and technology that were used in the 1820's. My favorite descriptions were those about the disgusting street smells and the intermixed odors of perfume, bodies and flowers at the opera house. I thoroughly enjoyed Death of a Dowager and didn't put the book down, even to make dinner. It was easy to read, filled with appropriate clues, and contained interesting tidbits about British history. If you're looking for a good mystery or historical novel, you can't go wrong with Death of a Dowager. ** Book provided by author in exchange for an honest review.
I am a lover of Jane Eyre and it was great fun to see the characters continue - the traditional mystery added flair to this well written, fun-to-read book.