I am jumping up and down today because I am thrilled Joanna is here plus I can’t wait to tell you all about her new book and this new series. Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite reads. I reread it often and must say it was one of the few books that I was forced to read in high school that I actually enjoyed and have worn out several copies. When I heard Joanna was writing The Jane Eyre Chronicles I knew I was going to love them. If you haven’t read Jane Eyre you can get it at Amazon.com for your Kindle for free. A great book to check out from the library as well. But you can just take the plunge into Death of a Schoolgirl even if you have not read the classic as the author drops us masterfully into Jane Eyre Rochester’s life. I will continue my praise in my review after Joanna’s post.
Please join me in welcoming Joanna Campbell Slan!
A storm is brewing outside my window. Isaac threatens us here on the Florida coast, and the sea is rough with the slap-slap-slap of waves. A low drumroll of thunder grumbles in the distance, a harbinger of the wild weather to come.
Far from being afraid, I look forward to the stormy weather. You never know what the seas will toss onto the sand! After a storm, I love looking for shells and bits of treasures. However, not so long ago, someone walking these beaches could have easily come upon a half-drown sailor. Ships were often blown off course and crashed on the Anastasia rock formation, a barrier that runs parallel to the shore. Back in 1876, the government built five “houses of refuge” up and down the coast of Florida. These were places charged with offering temporary shelter to sailors. A decade later ten more were added. But today, only one still exists, the House of Refuge on Gilbert’s Bar, on the St. Lucie Rocks, on Hutchison Island, Florida.
Although I’ve visited the House of Refuge many times, I dropped in again yesterday. As always, I was fascinated by the artifacts from the past. One item in particular interested me this time—the large piece of hair work adoring a wall of the dining room. Now I can’t imagine anyone on HGTV suggesting, “Oh, let’s put a humongous wreath made of human hair over your dining room table!” At least, not without the homeowners gagging. But years ago, it was quite the thing.
As you can tell, I have a passion for history. When I wrote Death of a Schoolgirl, I immersed myself in the years 1820-21. Imagining the smells of London, the sorts of clothing women wore, the way people spoke, the food they ate, the places they went, well, I enjoyed every minute of it. Hardest of all was to capture the mindset of the people of that time.
Today we worry about climate change. About the shooting sprees that seem rampant in our country. About the upcoming election. These concerns color the way we live our daily lives. Growing up during the Cold War, I worried about Russia hitting us with a nuclear bomb. Sociologists suggest that the tenor of our formative years shapes who we are as adults. For example, my grandmother grew up during the Great Depression. As an adult, she saved tin foil and rubber bands. When she died, we cleaned out cabinets full of such “treasures!” To us, it seemed silly, but to her, such economies gave comfort.
When I sit down to write about another era, I try to imagine the zeitgeist of times gone by. By doing so, I can approach my characters more honestly, with compassion for them. As a result, I hope they are more real to my readers…because they certainly are to me!
Thank you Joanna for visiting today. Your characters jump right off the pages and into our hearts.
About This Author
Joanna Campbell Slan is the author of Death of a Schoolgirl (The Jane Eyre Chronicles)(Berkley), the first book in a new series featuring Jane Eyre as an amateur sleuth. She also writes the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series and has the Southern Beauty Shop Series in the works. To learn more, visit Joanna at www.JoannaSlan.com
Death of a Schoolgirl
(The Jane Eyre Chronicles)
A Brand New Series
Historical Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Publish by The Penguin Group (August 7, 2012)
Cover Art by Alan Ayers
Cover Design by George Long
Trade Paperback: 352 pages
In her classic tale, Charlotte Brontë introduced readers to the strong-willed and intelligent Jane Eyre. Picking up where Brontë left off, Jane’s life has settled into a comfortable pattern: She and her beloved Edward Rochester are married and have an infant son. But Jane soon finds herself in the midst of new challenges and threats to those she loves…
Jane and Edward are very upset by a letter they receive from Adèle Varens, Rochester’s ward. She is residing at a boarding school in London and the letter is a cry for help. Adèle has a tendency to be a bit dramatic and she craves attention but Jane feels Adèle is truly in trouble.
Jane decides she must go to London immediately even if that means leaving her son and invalid husband behind, traveling alone into the big city. Her travels are event filled but nothing comes close to arriving at the school just in time to see a body being removed. A classmate of Adèle’s has died and no one seems very upset. Jane uses the chaos created by a teacher leaving and her replacement being delayed to pose as an instructor to find out what is really going on behind the walls of the school. She starts to uncover some “unsavory secrets” that may lead to her own demise.
A FANTASTIC STORY!!!! This is one of those that earns well beyond the five stars!!!
Joanna Campbell Slan has masterfully dropped us right into Jane’s life. She picks up right where Charlotte Bronte leaves off and spins a wonderful tale turning Jane Eyre into a Nancy Drew from 1820. What a marvelous idea.
Jane has evolved into a wife and a mother still retaining the complexity and strength that Bronte created. She has overcome so much in her life and emerged a strong woman with a compassionate heart. Edward Rochester has grown as well, coming to terms with his disabilities as the high price for the errors of his past, but not letting them consume him. Together they are the perfect match and their love just shines. The author has made these characters jump right off the page and into our hearts. A trip back in time to visit some dear old friends.
The mystery is dynamic with many twists, turns and surprises. It is well researched giving the reader a clear sense of history and place.
Beautifully written. The writing style reminds me of Charlotte Bronte herself. While the novel Jane Eyre was said to be “ahead of its time” and explored many social themes and mores, this “chronicle” is timed perfectly to show us life as the Rochester’s move forward. Their eyes are have now been opened to the world outside Ferndean Manor. As the make plans to rebuild Thornfield Hall I see them taking on more responsibilities as landowners to care of the people around them.
This will be one of my Best Reads of 2012. Right now it holds the top spot!! A Extraordinary Read!! A More Than PERFECT ESCAPE!! A great way to introduce a new generation to Jane Eyre.
Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?
Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”