If you like historical Christian fiction with a mysterious plot and a good-hearted unconventional heroine, look no further. This one is sure to please. See what I thought of Joanna Davidson Politano's debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears.
Book Title: Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano
Category: Adult Fiction, 411 pages
Genre: Christian Fiction/Mystery/Romance
Release date: Oct 3, 2017
Content Rating: PG (mature themes of parental abandonment and prison life in the 19th century)
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.
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani
I was instantly attracted to this book by its cover and the premise of the story. A woman writer in the 19th century with a male pen name, the mysterious disappearance of Lady Jayne, the Gothic setting of a gloomy estate of nearly 100 rooms...well, I just couldn't wait to dig into this book.
Aurelie Harcourt has just lost her father to death. She lived with him in one of London's debtor's prison and now moves to her aunt's wealthy home in England's countryside, where she meets his family for the first time. Apart from the aunt, they believe Aurelie to be a distant relative and do not know who she really is, nor that her father is the famous author Nathaniel Droll. Aurelie now takes over this role in secret and wants to find out what happened to Lady Jayne who was her mother.
The story is filled with secrecy both on the part of Aurelie and her father's family. There are twists and turns that kept me guessing and enough creepy dark hallways and abandoned dusty rooms that gave this book a Gothic feel. There were comic moments too, especially when Aurelie incorporated the idiosyncrasies and behaviors of the family into her characters in the story installments that got published.
Lady Jane Disappears is a well-written impressive debut. The author succeeded in immersing me in the setting and story. I enjoyed the book's storyline and the romance too, although I found Silas's character to be underdeveloped. We know next to nothing about his family life and he did a few things that were unconventional for the time period. There were a few loose threads at the end of the story too, like what happened to Kendrick, Nelle, and Juliette when she ran away, making the ending feel a little rushed.
This was an entertaining novel and I look forward to reading Politano's next book. If you like historical Christian fiction with a mysterious plot and a good-hearted unconventional heroine, look no further. This one is sure to please.
Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
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About the Author:
Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.
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