Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Death of a Dowager by Joanna Campbell Slan


So I did not like this book as much as I enjoyed DEATH OF A SCHOOLGIRL but it was still pretty good. Slan has created an interesting set of characters to complement the ones from the original book, and one of my favorite things about the Jane Eyre Chronicles is Jane's friendship with Lucy, a divorced(?) woman who lives with her dog and, in this book, agrees to adopt her ex-husband's bastard child.

I think there's a major tone difference between this book and the previous one. DEATH OF A SCHOOLGIRL had a dark academia setting and was very dark from the get-go. DEATH OF A DOWAGER, on the other hand, takes forever to get moving and nobody dies until halfway through the book. After this, the book moves very slowly and feels more like a comedy of errors, replete with court intrigue and a mystery involving poison. Because of that, this book felt SO MUCH LONGER even though it was basically the same page count as the previous book.

I thought it was very clever making Blanche Ingram and her family the antagonists of this book. Blanche was high key awful in the original Jane book, so it's fun to have a character you love to hate. Jane's relationship with Edward really feels more fleshed out here, too, and I really enjoyed the interactions between them. I especially liked how the author kept his injuries from the previous book and how there were dialogues about mobility and blindness. At one point, Edward is given hemp/weed to smoke for his eye injury and I thought that was funny because a lot of Bronte heroes probably would have been more mellow if they sat down and smoked a doobie.

3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars

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