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.
I have a feeling that The Death of Jane Lawrence is going to be hit or miss among readers. I ended up having mixed feelings about it, but I am glad that I read it and thought that it did some interesting things. I especially loved Caitlin Starling’s writing. She has this way of creating an atmosphere and tension that is truly special. I cannot wait to dive into her backlist, starting with The Luminous Dead.
If you are a fan of Gothic horror or novels like Rebecca and Jane Eyre, I think that The Death of Jane Lawrence is worth reading. I love the setting and the supernatural, though I did find there was a lot going on and it felt overwhelming at times. The first half had me hooked, but the second half lost me a little. There were a lot of characters and the story was harder to follow, and I noticed that a few Goodreads’ reviewers felt the same way. That said, I loved how the story came together and I think it has the potential to be a book that grows on me.
I really loved Jane as a character. She is independent, strong-willed, and she doesn’t fall into a lot of the stereotypical tropes of this genre. I appreciated how much she loved surgery and seeing her and her husband bond over it was fascinating. I also wasn’t expecting the romance! I need to read more marriage of convenience turned real love type books. The characters balanced each other so well and though their story becomes very dark, I enjoyed the ride!
Writing Style: 8
Overall CAWPILE score: 54/7=7.7