Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano - Haunting Gothic Debut

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

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Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2017
Genre: Fiction; Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher Provided – thank you!
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Rating: ★★★★
Following in the footsteps of the epic Dickens tomes or the Gothic infused Jane Eyre, this debut novel suffers no shortage of atmospheric qualities and multi-dimensional characters.
A life living inside walls is all Aurelie Harcourt has ever known. She’s comfortable with her lot in life, until she is forced out of these circumstances. In the aftermath of her father’s death, Aurelie is whisked away to live with his relatives. Relations who, by all accounts, are quite wealthy. A stranger among them, Aurelie struggles with how to relate to them – and the question of why they allowed her and her father to exist in debtor’s prison.

A more pressing situation arises when Aurelie begins to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Lady Jayne, Aurelie’s mother.

As she’s drawn deeper in the web, Aurelie meets with many enemies, fewer friends and the prospect of a most unusual romance. Hiding among her own secrets, Aurelie must discover the truth of her past before she can step into the future.

The Faces of Adaptations | Jane Eyre Edition

Anytime a publishing house I’m familiar with, and read a great deal from, releases a book that seems different than its genre competition, I’m intrigued. Such is the case with Lady Jayne Disappears. Though Bethany House publishes many historical novels, this one read and appeared a great deal different than its publishing house companions. All of which are impressions that turn out to be accurate.

In and out weaves a mystery the reader desperately tries to piece together. Does this piece fit with this clue? Does that revealing story match up with Aurelie’s collected answers? The story gathers notions, thoughts and of course, clues, all of which slowly piece together the greater (and present) mystery of this heroine. One thing to be aware of, this novel is unhurried. It’s lengthier than most of the similar fiction I’ve read, which may have been part of the reason it “felt” slower.

That said, the story is full of intrigue and fascinating characterizations. This is the kind of story that inspires us to wonder who is trustworthy and who we should keep our distance from. There are some characters we love easily and fast, then there are those who take longer to warm to. Or if you’re anything like me, there are characters who we wonder if we should have trusted from the beginning.

Book #Giveaway | Haunting Gothic Debut plus Anticipating Christmas! 

Just as an aside for those who love a good romance, the romance is second to the mystery (and the character’s themselves). However, what really sticks out is the Gothic feels and atmosphere. Following in the footsteps of the epic Dickens tomes or the Gothic infused Jane Eyre, this debut novel suffers no shortage of atmospheric qualities and multi-dimensional characters.

Historical aficionados won’t want to miss this haunting, unique story that pays homage to the classics, and introduces us to a most unusual heroine.♥

Synopsis: When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano's stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance. – Goodreads

Coming Next from Joanna Davidson Politano: Tressa Harlowe's father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn't take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they're really up to. She'll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father's fortune--before someone else finds it first. 

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they'll not soon forget. - Amazon, July 2018

Sincere thanks to the publisher, Bethany House for providing a complimentary copy of this novel; all opinions are my honest thoughts. 


  1. Like you, I was DEFINITELY wondering which characters I should trust or like from the start!!! The way the epilogue set up a certain circumstance then the story jumped back in time was such a cool device to create tension and even foreshadowing. I *still* didn't guess the reason a certain someone had continued interest in Droll until it was revealed. I love it when a mystery or complex situation like that leaves me guessing!

    I did think its pace was a little slow, which made me read it even slower than normal. But, it worked for the character development.

    1. (APOLOGIES for the reply delay!)

      Right? These characters loyalties and personalities shifted a few times. So many turns and questions that left me saying, "Wait... what just happened?" I do think if I make time for it, I'll enjoy this book even more a second read-through. I think when I read it wasn't at the best time, so that clouded my thoughts/enjoyment.

      SO glad you enjoyed it. I'm always all for better character development. That alone earns points from this reader. :)

  2. I love a good gothic "feel" story and have been looking forward to this one for a while.

    1. (APOLOGIES for the reply delay!)

      Me too! Especially in period drama, Brittaney. I think that creates an amazing dynamic and atmosphere. :)

      Hope you enjoy this one!

  3. I haven't heard of this book before. I think I'd like it.

    1. Awesome! I hope if/when you do read this one you enjoy it, Dianna. Let me know what you think if you read it. :)


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