Book Review: “The Death Of Jane Lawrence” by Caitlin Starling

Cover of "The Death Of Jane Lawrence" by Caitlin Starling
Cover of “The Death Of Jane Lawrence” by Caitlin Starling

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “The Death Of Jane Lawrence” by Caitlin Starling! It’s been a while since I read a horror story, so I thought this would be the perfect time to get into reading one or two again! Here’s a quick summary so we know what it’s about:

“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.”

Plot Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The plot was fine for the most part, and I enjoyed the first half of the book. The buildup of Augustine concealing a lot from Jane was really fun to read. I also enjoyed reading how Jane learned about Elodie, who died prior to the current events of the book.

However, the second half of the book, especially the last quarter, felt a bit rushed when wrapping up the story. I also thought the time travel elements and magical elements in the last fourth were shoehorned in. They seemed added to try to get to the ending faster and made little sense. Though I’m glad that Jane and Augustine get a happy ending, part of me felt like it wasn’t quite deserved. The magic elements used to have them die and come back to life  automatically ‘fixed’ their character flaws. This magic seemed to replace the characters actually fixing the problem themselves.

Character Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This novel features many characters. But the main two that stick out are Jane and Augustine. You have Jane, desperate to learn the truth of what Augustine is hiding. But Augustine himself also is trying to keep whatever he hides well-hidden. He does this out of fear of Jane being endangered. This sets up a great conflict between the two that persists throughout most of the novel. It also serves as the main conflict. Both were fine to read, but I felt that they never quite finished their conflict. I blame this on how the main story ended.

Overall, I’m rating this book 3.5 out of 5 stars!

The book had a strong beginning, but ended on a lackluster note with shoehorned elements thrown in the last quarter. However, if you enjoy reading Gothic horror stories or stories similar to this, you might enjoy reading this one.

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