Review: Death of a Schoolgirl by Joanna Campbell Slan

Description (from cover):

‘In her classic tale, Charlotte Bronte introduced readers to the strong-willed and intelligent Jane Eyre. Picking up where Bronte left off, Jane’s life has settled into a comfortable pattern: She and her beloved Edward Rochester are married and have an infant son. But Jane soon finds herself in the midst of new challenges and threats to those she loves…

Jane can’t help but fret when a letter arrives from Adele Varens–Rochester’s ward, currently at boarding school–warning that the girl’s life is in jeopardy. Although it means leaving her young son and invalid husband, and despite never having been to a city of any size, Jane feels strongly compelled to go to London to ensure Adele’s safety.

But almost from the beginning, Jane’s travels don’t go as planned–she is knocked about and robbed, and no one believes that the plain, unassuming Jane could indeed be the wife of a gentleman; even the school superintendent takes her for an errant new teacher. But most shocking to Jane is the discovery that Adele’s schoolmate has recently passed away under very suspicious circumstances, yet no one appears overly concerned. Taking advantage of the situation, Jane decides to pose as the missing instructor–and soon uncovers several unsavory secrets, which may very well make her the killer’s next target…’

My thoughts:

Have you ever read a book where you say that at the end of the chapter you are going to put the book down and go do something else, only to find that at the end of the chapter something good happens and you can’t stop there? Before you know it hours have passed and that something you were supposed to do has fallen to the wayside. That was the way I was with this book. I would try to stop at the end of chapter and something so delicious would happen and I couldn’t stop because I just had to know what had happened. I love books like that.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte has to be one of my favorite classic novels and when I heard about this one which takes Jane and adds a mystery, I was all over it. Some authors have a problem taking a classic novel and continue the character through a book of their own devising. A great example of that would be P. D. James in her Death Comes to Pemberley, where she tried to continue Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. That was a terrible book and a terrible adaptation of the characters. It takes a rare talent to be able to pull something like that off. Joanna Campbell Slan has mastered that with this novel. It’s like Jane Eyre walked directly off the pages of Bronte’s Jane Eyre and into this book. The transition was flawless and I can seriously see Jane doing the things she did in this book. I am in awe of how well Slan did with her character adaptation and somehow I think Charlotte Bronte would be proud.

The mystery in this book was captivating and not easily figured out. There were many suspects and motives and nearly everyone had the opportunity to commit this murder. Suspense and twists and turns make this book a page turner. I was entirely enthralled with this book. I am so glad that this is the beginning of a series and it reminds me a lot of Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen mystery series, which happens to be one of my favorites. I can’t wait to see where the author takes Jane and Rochester next and I think that using Jane Eyre as a detective is genius. A great read, but I would caution you to make sure you read Bronte’s Jane Eyre first. The back story needed in this book comes directly from the pages of Jane Eyre and I think the author intended this to be read afterwards. I think I am in love with this book, series, author. Everything about this was fabulous.

Overall Rating: 5

Title:  Death of a Schoolgirl
Author:  Joanna Campbell Slan
Series:  Jane Eyre Chronicles #1
Publisher:  Berkley Trade
Publication Date:  August 7, 2012
Pages:  352
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

12 thoughts on “Review: Death of a Schoolgirl by Joanna Campbell Slan

  1. 'Death Comes to Pemberley' was quite awful..I was so stoked to read it and then was like 'ugh'. This one is definitely in another class. I hope you get a chance to read it. I loved it.Kimberlee

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  2. Most of the Pride and Prejudice “sequels” or “rewrites” are terrible. Pamela Aidan's Fitzwilliam Darcy series is terrific. And, I suppose it was inevitable that other classic novels would be attempted as well. I'm glad to know that this one is good. Great review.

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  3. Thanks for posting about this Jane Eyre spin off. I've read a Jane Eyre spin off before but it was awful. I'm sure this one is much better. I mainly look for Jane Austen spin offs and your post remind me that there are many other great books with sequels.

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  4. I normally am very wary of spin offs, but this one was surprisingly very true to the character and it was tastefully done. The way a spin off should be. Very believable and a great read. I highly encourage you to pick it up.Kimberlee

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  5. I've never been one to read sequels by different authors than the original, but your review is so tantalizing and the cover so awesome, that I'm going to look for this one.

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  6. That's a great compliment for a book, when you simply can't put it down! I'll have to check this out as I love Jane Austen as well and am really starting to enjoy mysteries more and more.

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