‘LADY JAYNE DISAPPEARS’: Haunting Gothic Debut


Following in the footsteps of Dickens tomes or the Gothic infusion of Jane Eyre, this debut novel suffers no shortage of atmosphere and multi-dimensional characters. lady jayne disappears

STORY: A life living inside walls is all Aurelie Harcourt has ever known. She’s comfortable with her lot in life, until she is forced out of these circumstances. In the aftermath of her father’s death, Aurelie is whisked away to live with his relatives. Relations who, by all accounts, are quite wealthy. A stranger among them, Aurelie struggles with how to relate to them – and the question of why they allowed her and her father to exist in debtor’s prison. lady jayne disappears

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‘LADY JAYNE DISAPPEARS’: Haunting Gothic Debut. Review of the 2017 debut historical fiction novel. All text © Rissi JC

A more pressing situation arises when Aurelie investigates the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Lady Jayne, Aurelie’s mother.

Lady Jayne Disappears, by Joanna Davidson Politano

Anytime a publishing house I’m familiar with, and read a great deal from, releases a book that seems different than its genre competition, I’m curious. Such is the case with Lady Jayne Disappears. Though Bethany House publishes many historical novels, this one appears a great deal different than its publishing house companions. All of which are impressions that turn out to be accurate.

In and out weaves a mystery the reader desperately tries to piece together. Does this piece fit with this clue? Does that revealing story match up with Aurelie’s collected answers? The story gathers notions, and of course, clues, all of which slowly piece together the greater (and present) mystery. One thing to be aware of, this novel doesn’t rush. It’s longer than most of the similar fiction I’ve read, which may have been part of the reason it “feels” slower.

That said, the story is full of intrigue and fascinating characterizations. This is the kind of story that inspires us to wonder who’s trustworthy and who we should distrust. There are some characters we love easily and fast, then there are those who take longer to warm to. Or if you’re anything like me, there are characters who we wonder if we should have trusted from the beginning.

Just as an aside for those who love a good romance, the romance is second to the mystery (and the character’s, too). However, what really sticks out is the Gothic atmosphere. Following in the footsteps of Dickens’ tomes or the Gothic infusion like Jane Eyre, this debut novel suffers no shortage of atmosphere and multi-dimensional characters.

Historical aficionados won’t want to miss this haunting, unique story that pays homage to the classics; and introduces us to a most unusual heroine.♥


Author: Joanna Davidson Politano
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2017
Genre: Fiction; Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher Provided – thank you!
Add the Book: Goodreads
Rating: ★★★★

Sincere thanks to the publisher, Bethany House for providing a complimentary copy of this novel; all opinions are my honest thoughts. 

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Like you, I was DEFINITELY wondering which characters I should trust or like from the start!!! The way the epilogue set up a certain circumstance then the story jumped back in time was such a cool device to create tension and even foreshadowing. I *still* didn't guess the reason a certain someone had continued interest in Droll until it was revealed. I love it when a mystery or complex situation like that leaves me guessing!

    I did think its pace was a little slow, which made me read it even slower than normal. But, it worked for the character development.

    1. (APOLOGIES for the reply delay!)

      Right? These characters loyalties and personalities shifted a few times. So many turns and questions that left me saying, "Wait… what just happened?" I do think if I make time for it, I'll enjoy this book even more a second read-through. I think when I read it wasn't at the best time, so that clouded my thoughts/enjoyment.

      SO glad you enjoyed it. I'm always all for better character development. That alone earns points from this reader. :)

    1. (APOLOGIES for the reply delay!)

      Me too! Especially in period drama, Brittaney. I think that creates an amazing dynamic and atmosphere. :)

      Hope you enjoy this one!

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