The Death of Jane Lawrence
by Caitlin Starling
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Pub Date 05 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 02 Nov 2021
***AN INSTANT BESTSELLER!***
Best Books of 2021 · NPR
ALA/The Reading List Best Horror 2021 Pick
Longlisted for the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement in a Novel, 2021
From the Bram Stoker-nominated author of The Luminous Dead comes a gothic fantasy horror—The Death of Jane Lawrence.
"A jewel box of a Gothic novel." —New York Times Book Review
“Delicious.... By the time the book reached that point of no return, I was so invested that I would have followed Jane into the very depths of hell.” —NPR.org
“Intense and amazing! It’s like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell meets Mexican Gothic meets Crimson Peak.” —BookRiot
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, Caitlin 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.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 501 members
Gothic novel with an interesting an utterly unexpected twist. I thought it would be an old fashioned gothic story with a weak heroine and a byronic tormented hero but it was not and, at the same time, it really was. Highly recommended!
There's never been a better time to read a book about a woman slowly succumbing to madness in an isolated house! When Jane decides to marry the town doctor, she is simply expecting to be a helpmeet at her husband's surgery. She certainly doesn't expect to have to spend the night at his family's creepy manor, where she will have to face the ghosts of his past (literally). Terrifying and smart, "The Death of Jane Lawrence" kept me reading long into the night ... with all the lights on, of course.
Wow! What a read! I am still reeling by how much I truly enjoyed this book. After seeing Shirley Jackson mentioned in the blurb, I'll admit I was a little nervous. Most of the time, this leads to disappointment and me wondering if the gothic genre is dying out. The Death of Jane Lawrence has given me hope once again! Caitlin Starling is not messing around. The setting, the plot, the characters... everything felt so effortless.
Jane, our main character, convinces the town doctor that the two should be married as a business transaction. It is a mutually beneficial offer with strict parameters set in place by both parties. However, soon after they are married, those rules seem to unwind and Jane finds herself wondering who she truly married. Why must Augustine sleep at Luthridge Hall, by himself, every single night? Why can't she join him? What or who is haunting him in the night?
The impossible becomes the possible and it's left to Jane to put everything back in order. There is such a perfect hush, hush tone to the gothic nature of this story. For some, it would be considered a slow burn. But I found myself instantly entranced and taken with Starling's vivid descriptions. Luthridge Hall and the perfect ending to this story will stay with me for quite some time.
Listen, though. Yes, the Crimson Peak vibes are strong, but to say this is Crimson Peak plus Jonathan Strange plus the Mutter Museum plus Mexican Gothic makes it sound like a derivative mish-mash of Gothic horror tropes--and the substance of it is moooooore than that. This book is beautiful and horrifying and e n g r o s s i n g and layered. The visceral horror is relentless but it's not just there to scare you. And there's just enough steady, believable romance to cut through the gore.
If I had to compare this book to anything, honestly, it would be the Area X trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer (which, coming from me, is a high compliment). The sense of "something is very, very Wrong about this place" that becomes clearer and more dangerous but doesn't form a neat, tidy shape by the end. There's not this Big Moment of Dawning Horror where you realize the truth of whatever awful thing lies at the center of the story (looking at you, that scene in Crimson Peak), but rather a building sense of disorientation as our narrator untangles question after question about everything haunting her and her husband. The ending wasn't straight-forward, but I'd sooner reread the book than leave it at that.
Literally throwing stars at this book. Read it!!
Masterful gothic horror novel that reminds one of Rebecca crossed with haunting go hill house , janes marries a doctor for convince finds he harbors deep terrifying secrets . Scary and thrilling this novel is unputdownable
What a delicious novel. Not what I was expecting. I absolutely loved it! Gothic horror at its best. Macabre, dark, suspenseful. The first two days of Jane’s plan were a little tedious, but that was the only fault I really found with it. I did get a little confused at the end, but I’m OK with that. It was a complex, entangled story. It is definitely one that I would read again and one that I would like to discuss with others. It leaves you thinking. I did not want to put this book down! I had this feeling of excitement the entire time I was reading it. I enjoyed it so much. My favorite read of 2021 so far! This book was carefully and skillfully written. I will read the other book and novella that is by this author.
Thank you Net galley and the publisher, St. Martin’s Press for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
#NetGalley #The DeathofJaneLawrence
The Death of Jane Lawrence is the gothic horror you crave when the others are just a bit too gentle. This dark, fantastic tale of blood and ghosts is best read without too many preconceptions; readers need to make their own decisions about reality in this tale. Shadows and dark magic abound, and it's deliciously frightful.
If you’re looking for a book to fill the void after watching Crimson Peak, look no further. THE DEATH OF JANE LAWRENCE is a brutal, mind-bending tale, and had me on the edge of my seat wanting to find out what the heck was going on. The second half of the book was a little hard for me because the mathematical and ritual stuff kind of went over my head, but the final revelation had me going “oh, I guess I have to read this book again now that I know x.” (But not in a bad way, hence the 5 stars!) All in all, a solid read for fans of gothic horror. This book hurt me in my feelings and I enjoyed every second of it,
WELL THAT WAS TERRIFYING. I'm pretty sure this book is going to give me nightmares for a few days. The story starts with Jane needing to marry before her adoptive parents leave town and before she reaches a spinster age. She proposes a business type marriage arrangement to the new town doctor and he is hesitant at first. Dr Lawrence eventually agrees to marry her as long as she lives above his office and he lives in his creepy family home. The one thing Jane must do is NEVER BE AT THE HOUSE AFTER SUNSET so Jane agrees even though that is obviously a terrible red flag. When a storm washes out the road forces her to stay overnight on their wedding night, the rest of the novel unravels as Jane spends more time in the house. With major Rebecca and Haunting of Hill House vibes, Jane and Dr Lawrence are haunted by their own grief, paranoia, and guilt. Do not read this book one before bed, there were a lot of chilling and gory moments. Perfect for the gothic horror fans who enjoyed Mexican Gothic and the Haunting of Hill House. Also this book cover is gorgeous.
Thanks to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for my ARC.
I loved this book so much! It was the first book I have read by this author and I can't wait to read more! The characters and their story stick with you long after you finish the book.
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling is a gripping gothic novel that I could not put down and kept me up late into the night! It is reminiscent of classic gothic stories such as Rebecca and Crimson Peak while being its own unique story. It has all of the essential pieces of a great gothic novel- an old, crumbling house that is a character unto itself, a dark, mysterious history, a doomed love, and shadows that may or may not go bump in the night. The writing was beautiful and haunting and was perfectly suited to the story. I was hooked from first to last! I don’t want to say too much about the story to not spoil anything, but I cannot stress enough that you need to read this book! It is a book that will continue to haunt me in the best way possible for quite some time.
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling will be published on October 19, 2021.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for this eARC.
This book both delighted and terrified me, in equal measure. A marriage of convenience trope? An old, crumbling and isolated manor? Yes, please.
Jane Shorefield wants to marry, and as quick as she can, in order to maintain her independence. She chooses Augustine Lawrence, the beloved and mysterious town doctor. Augustine hesitatingly agrees on the condition that Jane should never set foot in his family home. But, of course, that plan falls apart as soon as the pair wed. Jane soon discovers inexplicable horrors within the walls of Lindridge Hall and the reason why her new husband wanted to hide it from her.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Books don’t usually scare me, but this one definitely did. I’ve never watched Crimson Peak, so I don’t know if it compares to that, but I can say I noticed Bluebeard similarities while reading this book. I loved Jane; she’s a smart, practical woman who goes on a journey in this book, facing things that she never worked have considered possible before meeting Augustine.
I will have to check out Caitlin Starling’s other works post-haste.
Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for an e-ARC of this book!
If you like your thrillers dripping in atmosphere and intrigue, propelled by a compelling plot, look no further. This gothic suspense explores how far we'll go for love and what horror we'll perpetuate in doing so.
*Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and author for proving this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review."
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this ARC. All I can say is "Wow!". I originally rated this book at 4 stars. It was late when I finished last night, so I decided to defer writing my review until today. I seriously dreamt about The Death of Jane Lawrence all night long. As this almost NEVER happens, I am upgrading it to 5 stars because I just cannot get it out of my mind. I'm not a fan of reviews that repeat a synopsis (you can read the back of the book much quicker than I can rewrite it!), so I will just say that while Crimson Peak was an inspiration for this book, it is so much more. The story takes place in an alternate-world of Great Britain (Great Briltane) which gave it a Fringe-like feel.. With hints of war with the Ruskans and gassing, I only wish there was a little more detail to the backstory of the alternate history of GB. The creeping dread appeared in the first chapter and kept building until it crawled beneath my skin. If you are intrigued by creepy medical practices of yesteryear and a bit of dark magic, then this book is definitely for you. It is not for the faint of heart or those who yearn for happy endings. And let's talk about this gorgeously gothic cover! This image will stick with me for a very long time!
A delicious gothic novel full of both psychological horror and magic, this book explores a number of standard gothic tropes, turning them into far more complex and interesting plot devices. There's a slow-ish burn romance, women helping women, and set pieces that while recalling gothic predecessors are original and full of creepy detail and suggestions.
This is fascinating gothic horror-fantasy and I'm furious it's not out until October (although that's perfect) because I'm dying to discuss and read interpretations of that ending. Loved the ideas explored, loved the original, fresh take on classic tropes and concepts, loved the magic system, loved the ambiguity and willingness to trust that the reader is smart enough to read between the lines. Eerie, visceral, enthralling storytelling.
This is my first book by Caitlin Starling and it most certainly will not be my last! To be fully transparent with you, I requested this ARC on NetGalley 100% because I thought the cover art was extremely interesting and piqued my curiosity. The book description cemented that it would be a great choice, based on my tastes.
I intended to just read a couple of chapters the night that I started, but I was instantly hooked by this book. Instantly. I read until my eyes couldn't stay open anymore. I'm someone who typically has 4-5 books going at a time, but the next morning when I woke up - my first thought was of this book. I was completely obsessed. There was a portion in the latter section of the story that was dragged out a touch too long and was a bit boring, but the author really slammed a homerun with what she did following that part.
Enough gushing - let's chat about this book. It is a gothic horror threaded with mystery and anticipation. The creep factor was on point and prevalent throughout - which I loved. I did think early on the author revealed something too early and that it would ruin that whole "I'm a bit hesitant to turn the page for what may happen next, but too addicted not to" feeling - but again, the author was able to regain it in a different fashion that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The story is unique in that a young woman, Jane, proposes to the new town doctor, Augustine. Jane is an orphan whose guardians are moving and Jane does not want to be a burden upon them as her funds are running low. Jane loves her quiet, in the background life and feels this business arrangement in the form of marriage will be the perfect solution.
Ah, but the heart wants what it wants, does it not? The terms of their arrangement are quickly discarded and even though Jane is not supposed to ever visit Augustine at his home, a series of unfortunate events find her there and tangles the couple up in a house that is filled with mystery.....and death.
I loved this story. I love the use of logic and supernatural. The character of Jane was so easy for me to relate to and attach my emotions to. I had heard this book compared to tales by Shirley Jackson, House of Leaves and Rebecca and I can definitely confirm that those are accurate.
I fully intend to read more of Starling's work - it is always a wonderful experience to love a book so much that you also fall in love with the author!
Rare is the book that can thwart your expectations at every turn. To do so requires a deft hand and knowledge of conventions that feels almost…magical. Getting to encounter a book like that, that sees the walls and boxes you have built for it and slowly tears them down brick by firmly placed brick, is nothing short of enchanting. Imagine my delight, then, when I discovered Caitlin Starling's The Death of Jane Lawrence, a book that seemed absolutely set on laughing in the face of my every plot prediction all the way through the last page.
Jane is a methodical woman. She tethers herself to the world not through her relationships with people but through her business-like connection to their numbers. Faced with the choice to either marry or return to her childhood home and the ghosts of memories too painful to let surface, she sets out on a plan to marry the local surgeon, presenting it foremost as a business proposal through which they hardly have to interact at all. But the surgeon, Augustine Lawrence, though equally pleased and baffled with this remarkably perfect proposition, has secrets of his own. Secrets he would rather keep isolated and buried as deeply as possible. As he and Jane grow closer and more intimate almost despite themselves, Jane must face the truth of all hastily planned marriages to people you've just met: perhaps the man she married is not the man she thought she knew at all. The further she goes into his labyrinthine mystery, the more she must ask herself, is the man she loves worth dying for?
I'll be honest about a few things up front: 1) the cover to this novel is so gruesomely, intricately beautiful on first glance it led me to request the book before I'd even made it halfway through the summary; 2) because of the first glance at the cover and my own expectations I fully expected this to be a Frankenstein-esque story; 3) I was not right, but I wasn't not right either. Jane Lawrence dances among the fields of Gothic horror at its peak romantic and creepy, maniacally cackling at the reader's audacity for predicting the plot's next turns. Part Du Maurier, part Shelley, part Bronte, Starling calls upon the powerhouse voices of haunted horror before her and bends them to her own will.
There was never a point in my reading of this novel where I knew where it was going to take me, but there were several where it seeped under my skin enough to force me to set it down for a bit in search of some lighter fare. Starling's ability to conjure worlds with her words is so vivid and demanding that I often did not feel the story's tendrils creeping up on me until they had tightened around my throat to catch my breath. If all that sounds a little hyperbolic, tell me, what was the last book that made you look askance at mirrors and windows and the angles of your houseframe? That made you jump at every unexpected noise?
Perhaps it worked its magic so well on me because I simply did not expect it to. I knew, of course, that it would be good - I have been fortunate in my granted choices to almost never be disappointed - but I did not expect it to dive so deeply into the darkness it probes. Even the one detail of Jane's past that comes up often enough to feel a bit repetitive is eventually turned on readers with an icy and effective hand. Here there lie ghosts and body horror, secrets and magic, and the shifting fabric of truth itself. Starling is your guide through the fluctuating waves of belief, and though you may enter her domain confident in your path, you will come out the other side more than a little bewildered at the journey and the sights she had to show you.
OKAY WOW HOT DAMN.
The atmospheric, spooky, gothic book of my DREAMS right here. I’d read this author’s novella and wished it was longer because it was so rich and spooky and I was gifted this instead and this book is a gift: a gross, spooky, ensnaring, horrific delightful gift that bleeds through its wrapping, messes with your head in the best way and makes you say “just one chapter more” until it’s dark out and you’ve read half the book in the span of a day (because that’s what I did.) if you liked crimson peak or Mexican Gothic, wondered what Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell would be like if it was absolutely batshit and scary, or just want something to read into the night when a storm rumbles up the horizon, i cannot recommend this enough. It IS gross; there’re quite a bit of guts and one alarmingly plot relevant teratoma, but if you can stomach that you need to read this
This book is both captivating and terrifying at the same time. It is a gothic horror novel with an incredibly detailed plot and rich characters.
The main character is Jane Shoringfield, a woman who doesn’t want to be a burden on her guardians and chooses to get into a marriage of convenience to Augustine Lawrence, the only doctor in her small town of Larrenton.
Lawrence agrees on one condition, that Jane must never spend the night at his ancestral home, Lindridge Hall. However, when a mudslide destroys her carriage, Jane has to break this promise and must stay overnight at Lindridge Hall- where she comes face to face with the secrets that haunt her husband.
The novel incorporates both elements of psychological and supernatural horror before going on to full supernatural territory. There is a creeping sense of dread, which will not let you stop turning the pages until you come to the end.
The characters are finely fleshed out. You can actually see how their mind works and how complicated their lives and situations are. These are characters that you can empathize with.
This novel is a perfect blend of the gothic and the supernatural and great storytelling. I think it’s a must read for fans of horror/ supernatural literature. In some ways it reminds me of Jane Eyre with a few elements of the story.
Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reader’s copy of the book for an honest review.
There are books that defy the sophomore slump – and then there are books that absolutely blow it out of the water. Caitlin Starling has produced an absolute masterpiece with her second novel, and this gothic horror chills and delights.
Set in an era similar to our own Victorian time, but in a world distinctly different, The Death of Jane Lawrence begins with a bargain. A young woman seeks a husband willing to agree to a marriage framed as a business agreement; but he has requirements of his own, one of them that she never spend the night at his family’s crumbling manor, Lindridge Hall. Theirs is a world where the church is crumbling; science, mathematics and medicine replacing it in the minds of a people worn out and traumatized by war. But spiritualism and magic lurk around the edges of this newly enlightened era, and when a stormy night means their bargain must be broken, it becomes clear that the shadows are hiding more than just shabby furnishings.
Jane Lawrence is a heroine the reader will find it easy to root for – she’s a complex and brilliantly real character, one with flaws, struggles, compassion, and intelligence. There’s a genuine sweetness to the connection between herself and her new husband, and even side characters feel fully realized. It raises the stakes – when you care, as a reader, you’ve got so much more to lose when those characters are threatened.
The Death of Jane Lawrence is a book of many layers, and made up of some gorgeous writing that sucks you in right from the start – it had me gripped from the very first page, and thinking about it whenever my reading was interrupted. There’s just enough inspiration here from works like Crimson Peak and Rebecca to guide reader’s expectations, to help you settle comfortably in, before taking those expectations and ruthlessly using them against you. There are some absolutely delightful subversions of tropes – unexpected moments that nevertheless feel absolutely right – and they’ve resulted in a book that refuses to sit quietly in just one genre corner. Nor should it, as the blended elements here were balanced perfectly by the author; the resulting novel shows its genre roots, while building up to a whole that is so much greater than the sum of its parts.
With this kind of work on just her second novel, Caitlin Starling is an author to watch. By turns chilling, romantic, and always entirely enthralling, The Death of Jane Lawrence promises a lot – and delivers.
This book was twisted! The suspense was palpable, as was the atmosphere; I found myself racing to the conclusion. This is perfect for fans of gothic horror.
This book was really stellar. It pulled me in and disturbed me, but the more it disturbed me, the faster I read. Caitlin Starling has quickly become a one-click author for me, and this book just cemented that fact. And that ending! Whew, I'm still reeling a few days later. I loved it.
The best gothic horror I've read in ages. This book takes slow burn to a new level and throws in twists and turns that makes for a page-turning experience. Fans of Shirley Jackson, Crimson Peak, and Mexican Gothic will love this one.
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read an advance reading copy.
What a deliciously creepy and weird gem of a book! Caitlin Starling excels at creating oppressive, claustrophobic environments; I read this book feeling both exhilarated and breathless.
Oh man, where do I even start with this one. It’s been super gloomy and rainy these past few days, so I felt that a gothic horror with elements of crimson peak and house of leaves would be a good choice. I couldn’t have picked a better book if I tried. The Death of Jane Lawrence gripped me from the very beginning and didn’t let go until the very last word. I expected this to be a run of the mill horror novel with a couple good frights featuring a generic main character only interested in marriage and her husband. This book took those expectations and repeatedly slapped me in the face with them for ever assuming Jane could be generic or weak willed. Every time I thought I knew which way the novel was proceeding, the rug was pulled out from under me in the best possible way. The starting concept is a marriage of convenience, followed by the introduction of a spooky semi abandoned manor, which is then joined by ghosts, betrayal, magic and....math? Seriously, if math had been taught as a system akin to magic in school, it might not have been my least favorite subject. Jane as a character was so fleshed out and complex, a 3D character in a genre where women are often used for shock value or thrown under the bus at the first sign of spooky conflict. She makes mistakes, she falters and questions herself but she also pushes past that doubt and works to better herself, the world around her and right her own wrongs. The only thing I wish was slightly more fleshed out is the fact that this all takes place in a mythical world. I would have loved to see more information or world building in regards to that choice, because there’s so much potential there that could have been utilized.
Overall, it’s an easy five stars, and I’ve already placed the novel on my preorder list for when it comes out in October!
(Also correct me if I’m wrong, because I’m not autistic myself, but it did seem like Jane’s behavior and mannerisms were autism-coded as well I.e. her fixation with numbers/math and using them to understand the world around her, her mention of not being able to understand social cues or having to learn to make eye contact. If that is the case, then I’d be interested to see what others think of her as representation!)
Can I first say that COVER! Wow wow wow that had me wanting to read this book when I saw it immediately! This book was amazing and horrific in all of the best ways possible!
If you want a novel full of gothic suspense and dark story telling, this is your sign to run and buy a copy of this book as soon as possible! You can thank me later!
Thank you for the ARC of this book!
The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling is a gothic horror story and much more -- it's mystery, magic, and a sort-of love story too. The author weaves a spine tingling tale that is both terrifying and mesmerizing. I couldn't put it down and suspect this will be on the top of ever horror reader's list for the year.
Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
First, I loved this book! It was historic, and spooky, and magical and I couldn’t have asked for more. I absolutely will be recommending this to customers at work!
Caitlin Starling doesn't miss.
This has for sure been my favorite that I have read of hers so far as it focuses a lot more on a haunted house and magic - whatever the cost of it is. Starling has such an ability to write morally grey and slowly unhinging women which is incredibly on brand for books I tend to love.
The Death of Jane Lawrence is a book that would be sure to get you out of any reading slump. I read the majority of it in one day just wanting to know what Jane will face next. Jane is intelligent and mathematical but Augustine Lawrence is soon to change her life in ways she could have never anticipated.
“This world is real Mrs Lawrence.. There are ghosts in this house, and they will not go away merely if you ignore them.”
The Death of Jane Lawrence is a twisted, mind bending gothic tale of secrets and ghosts who come back from the grave. If you enjoy books such as Rebecca or the Haunting of Hill House this is for you.
The story predominantly takes place at the gloomy Lindridge Hall, an estate filled with secrets and spirits. Jane marries Augustine, a skilled Doctor who at first glance seems perfect. It soon becomes apparent he is keeping secrets from her that he has no intention of her ever finding out. Jane finds herself wondering - why does Augustine not want her to ever stay the night at Lindridge Hall? Who is Elody, the young woman who she finds out died there? Why is Lindridge Hall haunted?
The story in many parts is incredibly terrifying and blood chilling. Part of the horror was watching the psychological aspects unfold and the descent into madness. I truly feared for Jane and her safety. Those who enjoy feminist undertones will appreciate the aspects woven throughout. Jane fears her husband is part of some deeply dark activities but worries if anyone will believe her. Perhaps she will be the one thrown in an asylum. Reflecting upon history I do not blame her.
I was absolutely fascinated and enamored by the medical aspects of this novel such as the surgeries. Those who enjoy reading about medical procedures, autopsies and medical oddities may also enjoy this aspect.
I will gush about this all day to anyone who will listen to me. The Death of Jane Lawrence is a must read for fans of gothic literature and is one of my top reads of 2021.
Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review this in advance.
The Death of Jane Lawrence gripped me from beginning to end. If some unsuspecting person stumbled into Real Magic, I bet it would go just like this. It was so interesting seeing Jane learn about magic only in bits and pieces, never knowing if she had all or even enough information and if this was what was going to drive her mad or kill her.
I appreciated that none of the characters were quite what you expected to them to be, that they all had secrets or ulterior motives. It made them believable and complex and fit the story with the complexity of the magic and of the curse on the house.
If you are looking for a creepy and unique fantasy/horror/haunted house novel and you want something just this side of inexplicable, The Death of Jane Lawrence will be a good bet.
I was blown away by this novel. It wasn't anything that I expected. The twist is worth the wait. Please don't pass up!
I am always so excited when new gothic horror uses the same rhythm alongside a fresh, CREEPY idea. Big, decaying house; untrustworthy visions; constant thunderstorms to keep our terrified protagonist from leaving. All tropes that give me comfort as much as dread!
BUT, Jane Lawrence adds concepts and plot choices I didn’t see coming that I thought blended beautifully with the embedded tropes. I cared about Jane, I cared about the nightmare she was going through, and I found the ending satisfying and well worth the time it took to get there. Super, super recommend for anyone with a particular taste for gothic horror.
*many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s for this ARC*
💀 THE DEATH OF JANE LAWRENCE 💀 Y’all know that I’m often not one for the thriller genre… but OH MY GOD. A rare 5/5 for me, “The Death of Jane Lawrence” blew all of my expectations out of the water. This story has elements of Crimson Peak, Wuthering Heights, and Rebecca. One of the summaries said “…crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon” and that sums it up best. For anyone who considers themselves a fan of the gothic horror genre, this is a must-read. Available October 2021!
★ Summary: “Jane Shoringfield has decided that the most secure path forward is a husband who will allow her to remain independent. 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 and she finds him changed. Gone is the surgeon and in his place is a paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare. By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall…”
★ I can’t express enough that this is straight from the gothic horror canon in the best way. It immediately marks itself as a champion of the genre, in a post-war England and a spooky manor house to boot.
★ Starling does an incredible job in her characterization of both Jane and Augustine and you go back and forth about your feelings for both of the characters. The writing itself is also masterful, which is no small feat when doing all of the work of setting up the scene for gothic horror.
I’m typically not a fan of the horror or thriller genre… but this one might just have changed my mind!
I am always a sucker for a historical mystery, and The Death of Jane Lawrence drew me in immediately. What surprised me was how absolutely terrifying and completely riveting this story was. Starling's winning combination of deep character development alongside vivid imagery had me laying awake for several nights in a row. While I wouldn't recommend this as a book to read as you try to doze off at night, I'll absolutely be recommending this to library patrons and friends!
I originally reviewed this a few days ago but haven't stopped thinking about it. While my coworkers don't quite find supernatural medical drama enticing, this is the perfect outlet for my continued thoughts: I am obsessed with this book and have already preordered a physical copy for myself. As a fan of the genre, I was immediately drawn in by the Crimson Peak comparisons, which are totally warranted, so I may have gone in with a bias. While some have said that the second half is slower and too descriptive, I enjoyed that aspect of it. I do love how quick the book starts off, matching my excitement to see what happens next. However, I think my brain processes complex thoughts a bit similarly to Jane's. I don't often love magic in books but the philosophical approach grounded the story for me, and personally I feel the big concepts need extensive breakdown. Coupling that with the way that Jane uses logic and reason to process these larger-than-life ideas, and the way that in real life this is how many people process grief, and we use rituals to give us some sort of catharsis or healing...absolute chef's kiss.
On a less dense note, I absolutely loved the romance. Their awkwardness was so endearing, and I felt their love towards the end of the book was totally genuine. To delve into the tropes of the genre, I love how an inexperienced new wife's paranoia and insecurities manifested in the supernatural, and the sequence with the surprise dinner party was a magnificent display of the feelings coinciding with an (again, inexperienced) anxious person essentially having the rug pulled out from under them in many ways. Their behavior felt much like the climax of Durrenmatt's The Visit; I was quite panicked. Add on top of all of this, I felt the writing appropriately matched Jane's mental state throughout the book.
I fear this is the longest review I've written here, and I'm embarrassed and must wrap it up. Needless to say, I loved this book.
The Death of Jane Lawrence was such a great book! I had no idea what I was in for and I was blown away. The author is a master at sensory writing and really has you feeling the cold slabs and smelling the blood. Amazing writing. Yes, there is a lot of blood so prepare accordingly. The story was really solid and only got a tad confusing ear the end, Speaking of which, I loved the ending. This is a perfect book for a stormy fall night. Hoping to read a whole lot more from this author.
The Death of Jane Lawrence is the embodiment of gothic horror, but on steroids!! It has the traditional arranged marriage between unsuspecting woman and mysterious but attractive man. Loved that this time the woman, Jane, is a brilliant minded woman with an affinity for numbers, and the man, Augustine, is a renown surgeon working in a small town. There is the family home that is in disrepair that Augustine doesn’t want Jane to be at, for mysterious untold reasons. What adds to the story, is the added elements of spiritualism and the post-war world of fictional countries. I loved that the deeper we got into the story the more the writing made you think and question the reality, all while Jane is questioning her own reality. It gets to a point where I felt transcended to another spiritual plane and felt like we’d time warped to some other dimension. This was a brilliantly written novel, with the perfect amount of spookiness.
I absolutely love this Gothic thriller. The plot and the characters are original. The atmospheric tension slowly builds. I was stunned by the ending but I loved it.
The Death of Jane Lawrence takes many gothic fiction tropes and twists them into something new and intriguing. There is a dark and stormy manor, a marriage of convenience/slow burn romance, spirits, pschological spirals - and of course magic and body horror - but the atmosphere and tone is much more creepynand chilling than gruesome. I enjoyed being in Jane's head as she figured out her puzzles and equations and mysteries. Overall just a really terrific Gothic horror fantasy!
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for letting me read this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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