Book Review: Lady Jayne Disappears

27 Nov

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.

 

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 debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, released October 3 from Revell. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods and shares stories that move her at http://www.jdpstories.com.

 

My Impressions:

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano is an impressive debut novel. Complex in its plotting and characterization, it reveals a heart for story and the One who is the Master Storyteller. A beautiful first offering, this book promises great things for readers — a wonderful new voice in CF.

Aurelie Rosette Harcourt is the product of a life spent in debtor’s prison. Raised by a gentleman who spins spell-binding stories while languishing in the desperation of squalor and despair, Aurelia is a bit otherworldly — a young woman who seemingly fits everywhere and nowhere. Following her father’s death, she is thrust into a glittering world that is no less a prison for its inhabitants. As Aurelie continues her father’s work and legacy, she searches for the truth that proves both elusive and dangerous.

The setting for Lady Jayne Disappears is Victorian England. A great chasm exists between the privileged and the poor. Politano’s novel is a wonderful look into the world that once was. A strong sense of atmosphere permeates the novel. Strong descriptive narrative from the first person point of view of Aurelie combined with an alternate third person view, causes the reader feel she has stepped right into the filth of debtor’s prison and the pristine environs of Lynhurst Manor. While the characters are very much Victorian in their actions and attitudes (quite Dickensian in their development), they are also real and relatable for the modern reader. The novel presents a story within a story as Aurelie takes on the persona of Nathaniel Droll, the pen name of her father. The serial novel Aurelie completes parallels her current situation as well as seeks to uncover the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. There are lots of twists and turns, keeping both Aurelie and the reader a bit off balance as story and reality are interwoven. Just what is real and what is fancy? Aurelie is a young woman who doesn’t know her own worth, but she certainly knows the One who gives it to her. I loved her powerful and active prayer life. Emphasis is placed on the power of story to heal, comfort, and confront. At one point Aurelie realizes this — Fiction was not always a lie, but a truth told in parallel to real life. A pill of advice disguised in an easy-to-swallow tale (p. 188).

A bit romance, a bit mystery, this beautifully told historical novel will appeal to a widespread audience. I certainly loved it! I am eagerly awaiting more from Politano’s talented pen.

Highly recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

8 Responses to “Book Review: Lady Jayne Disappears”

  1. bellesmoma16 November 27, 2017 at 10:55 am #

    Great review! I just got this book. Now, I really can’t wait to read it.

    Like

  2. Carrie December 2, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

    yay! i’m so glad you loved it! 😀

    Like

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