Okay I have only watched clips of “Crimson Peak” because my friend said it might scare me too much. So listening to The Death of Jane Lawrence was a bold move on my part. I can’t speak to the comparison, but I can say that this one is perfect for fall! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town. Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him.
By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to. Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Starling crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon. This Crimson Peak-inspired story assembles, then upends, every expectation set in place by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca, and will leave readers shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
My reading experience with The Death of Jane Lawrence is a roller coaster. At the beginning I was like, “yes I love historical medical thrillers” as Jane begins to help Augustine in surgery. For some reason, I love historical medical stories so much ever since I visited a museum in Edinburgh. What can I say! And then I was getting some serious Jane Eyre vibes especially as her name is Jane and she goes to this kind of haunted house with dangerous secrets. The parallels are there okay?
But then The Death of Jane Lawrence introduced MAGIC?! And maybe I had forgotten the synopsis when this happened, but I was like wow. One of my favorite elements of The Death of Jane Lawrence is the supernatural/gothic. I loved the vibes, the tension in the suspense, and the danger in the supernatural. That being said, I have no idea how the magic works at all. So I kind of just had to go with it and do a lot of assuming. But I ended up enjoyed the last 1/3 so much.
Not to mention that Mandy Weston, the narrator of my audio book, was fabulous. Weston was able to communicate Jane’s emotions, misgivings, and desire to believe so well. It almost felt like I was listening to someone recording her journal. At times it felt intimate, thrilling, and tense. And listening to accents is the absolute best.
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The Death of Jane Lawrence is firmly rooted in Jane’s journey. It may begin with a marriage proposal, but it centers on Jane. On Jane’s search for answers, for her own place in the world, and for her own dreams. I think that’s what really sold me on how much I enjoyed this book. The Death of Jane Lawrence is full of secrets, magics, and a twist at the end which is delightful. If you like the comparison of “Crimson Peak” or just love that supernatural Gothic kind of story featuring a resilient and clever heroine, this is for you. Find The Death of Jane Lawrence on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org, Libro.fm, Google Play & The Book Depository.