Death of a Schoolgirl by Joanna Campbell Slan
Goodreads Summary: 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 1851, and Jane’s life has finally settled into a comfortable pattern. She and her beloved Edward Rochester have married, and have an infant son. But Jane soon finds herself in the midst of new challenges and threats to those she loves…
Jane can’t help but fret when a letter arrives from Adèle Varens—Rochester’s ward and Jane’s former pupil, currently at boarding school—warning that the girl’s life is in jeopardy. Although it means leaving her young son and invalid husband, and despite never having been to a city of any size, Jane feels strongly compelled to go to London to ensure Adèle’s safety.
But almost from the beginning, her travels don’t go as planned—she is knocked about and robbed, and no one believes that the plain, unassuming Jane could indeed be the wife of a gentleman. Even when she arrives at the school, the headmistress takes her for an errant new teacher, and berates her for her late arrival. Most shocking to Jane is the discovery that Adèle’s roommate has recently passed away under very suspicious circumstances, yet no one at the school seems concerned. Taking advantage of the misunderstanding, she decides to pose as the missing instructor—and soon uncovers several unsavory secrets, which may very well make her the killer’s next target…
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of Death of a Dowager from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Death of a Dowager by Joanna Campbell Slan
Goodreads Summary: 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…
I LOVE Jane Eyre and I LOVE mysteries. However, I was a bit skeptical about a mysteries series involving Jane Eyre. But you know what? This series is awesome! I was asked to participate in the blog tour for Death of a Dowager, the second book in the series. With mystery series it is often not necessary to read the mysteries in order, but I generally like to read the first in the series first just to get a sense of the characters and where the series will be headed. So, I did read these two in order – but they are excellent stand alone reads.
When I first starting reading Death of a Schoolgirl, I had to check the calendar. I thought I had gone back in time to my days as college freshman embarking on my English degree. Joanna has done an excellent job of capturing Charlotte Bronte’s writing style and she has crafted a most excellent mystery. She has continued the world of Jane Eyre and stayed true to the original characters created by Bronte while adding some new ones.
If you like mysteries, if you like Jane Eyre, then this series is certainly a must read for you.
Both Death of a Schoolgirl and Death of a Dowager are excellent reads, but I have to admit that I like Death of a Dowager just a bit more because it solidifies that fact that Jane is no meek little mouse.
To learn more about this series or Joanna’s other series check out her website here.