Friday, June 14, 2013
Review of Joanna Campbell Slan's Death of a Dowager
In her classic tale, Charlotte Brontë introduced readers to the strong-willed and intelligent Jane Eyre. Picking up where Brontë left off, the year is now 1820, and Jane’s life has finally settled into a comfortable pattern. She and her beloved Edward Rochester have married and have a son. But Jane soon finds herself having to protect those she loves…
When the roof caves in at Ferndean, their country home, Jane and Edward accept an invitation from their friend Lucy Brayton to stay with her in London while repairs are being made. 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 a renowned oculist.
Once in London, the Rochesters accompany Lucy to the Italian Opera House, where they encounter Dowager Lady Ingram, who had once hoped for Edward to wed her daughter, Blanche—and who’s still rankled by his subsequent marriage to Jane. In front of a group of society people, the aging dowager delivers a vicious social drubbing to Jane, enraging both Edward and Lucy. In an attempt to rebuild good will, Jane and Lucy decide to speak to the Dowager in private the next day. But the visit is cut short when the Dowager drops dead before their shocked eyes. Lucy is poised to take the blame—unless Jane can clear her friend’s name…
Joanna Campbell Slan was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but she grew up in a small town in Indiana. After graduating from Ball State University with a degree in journalism, she worked as a newspaper reporter, a newspaper ad salesperson, a television talk show host, a college teacher, a public relations professional, and a motivational speaker. In that capacity, she was named by Sharing Ideas Magazine as “one of the top 25 speakers in the world.”
When her son, Michael, got his driver’s license, Joanna was freed from carpool duty and finally able to pursue her dream of writing full time. She has since written eighteen books, eleven non-fiction and seven fiction.
Joanna’s newest series—The Jane Eyre Chronicles—began with Death of a Schoolgirl(Berkley) and continues with the release of Death of a Dowager. The series features Charlotte Brontë’s classic heroine Jane Eyre as an amateur sleuth.
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This book was good, but it started out kind of slow for me. It picked up toward the middle when the murder took place. Jane is a very charming and likable character. This book gave a very good example of what it would have been like to live back in the times of Kind George the IV. Dowager Lady Ingram and her daughter, Blanche, did not like Jane because they felt she had taken Rochester from Blanche. When they meet in London at the Opera she tries to embarrass Jane and her best friend Lucy Brayton. The dowager is staying with Lucy's very good friend, Lady Grainger. Jane and Lucy are invited to tea, the next day. After Blanche gives her mother some coffee, she falls dead. Lady Grainger's little dog, Mags, also drinks some of the coffee and she is found dead also, this is how Waverly, a Bow Street Runner, knows that it is poison. Jane is also in possession of a letter that King George the IV had written to Pansy Biltmore telling of his "real" wife. This letter gets Jane into a lot of trouble. After she is injured by Pansy Biltmore, who wants her letter back, Jane finally realizes who killed the Dowager Lady Ingram. This was a charming story that had a lot of characters in it. I'll admit I have never read Jane Eyre, but after reading this I am going to surely check it out. This book had great historical accuracy and there is an author's note telling of this accuracy of what the author has made up. Great job Mrs. Slan.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.