Review: Death of a Dowager by Joanna Campbell Slan

death of a dowager

The Death of a Dowager
(The Jane Eyre Chronicles)

2nd in Series
Historical Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (April 2, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Alan Ayers
Cover Design by George Long
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425253519
E-Book File Size: 594 KB

The Death of a Dowager

In her classic tale, Charlotte Brontë introduced readers to the strong-willed and intelligent Jane Eyre. The Jane Eyre Chronicles pick up where Brontë left off, with Jane married to her beloved Edward Rochester and mother to a young son. But Jane soons finds herself having to protect those she loves…

While extensive repairs are being made to Ferndean, their rural home, Jane and Edward accept an invitation from their friend Lucy Brayton to stay with her in London. Jane is reluctant to abandon their peaceful life in the countryside, but Edward’s damaged vision has grown worse. She hopes that time in the capital will buoy his spirits and give him the chance to receive treatment from an ocular specialist.

Once in London, the Rochesters accompany Lucy to the Italian Opera House. But there is more drama in the audience than on stage—Jane not only unexpectedly finds herself in the presence of King George and his mistress, Lady Conygham, she also encounters an old nemesis in the form of Lady Ingram (whose daughter, Blanche, once hoped to wed Edward herself). The aging dowager deals both Jane and Lucy a very public snub; hoping to mitigate the social damage caused by this, Lucy insists on visiting the Ingrams the next day. The visit goes poorly from the start—and ends with Lady Ingram dropping dead in the midst of taking tea. It soon becomes clear that the dowager’s death was an unnatural one, and Jane must set her considerable intelligence to the problem of solving it—and why the throne appears to have an interest …

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jane Eyre is one of those books we are forced to read in school but it very quickly became one of my all time favorite stories. I also loved the first story in this series, Death of a Schoolgirl, which landed on my list of Best Reads of 2012.

Joanna Campbell Slan has a true gift, she doesn’t just write or tell a story. She drops the reader right into it.  We are in the opera house, at tea, walking the sooty streets of London.  I wasn’t just reading the story, I was living it.  

The entire story was intriguing as we step back in time to the read of royalty, political, social and medical customs.  The “ton” was very important to London’s elite and the slightest snub by another member could change life drastically. Being dropped from the group was a fear of all the members. Living outside of London Jane did not fully understand their power, she really didn’t care until she  learned how important this status  was to her friend Lucy. 

This story is beautifully written and has a definite Brontë feel. Following Jane, Edward and their family as they move past the pages of Jane Eyre is a pure pleasure.  The Jane Eyre Chronicles can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. It is time to introduce Jane Eyre to our daughters.  These stories are sure to become classics from our time.

This is going to be a Best Read 2013. An extraordinary story that should not be missed. Imagine me shouting from the rooftops “YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!”

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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. Death of a Dowager, the second in this series was just released in April 2013. She also writes the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series and has the Southern Beauty Shop Series in the works. To learn more, visit Joanna at and become a fan of hers at GoodReads here.
Check out her Jane Eyre paper dolls at Pinterest here.

book club 314

Do you think your book club would like to read this book!!! Joanna wants to hear from you. She has bookmarks and a Jane Eyre  pin for the organizer. Leave a comment below with your email and she or I will contact you with the details!! 

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.”

1 thought on “Review: Death of a Dowager by Joanna Campbell Slan

  1. THE DEATH OF A DOWAGER certainly looks like a fabulous read.


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