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Publisher's Summary

From the Bram Stoker-nominated author of The Luminous Dead comes a Gothic fantasy horror - The Death of Jane Lawrence.

“Intense and amazing! It’s like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell meets Mexican Gothic meets Crimson Peak.” (BookRiot)

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 to whom she has so hastily bound her safety. 

Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Caitlin 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 listeners shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished. 

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press  

“Claustrophobic in a way that Starling does best, The Death Of Jane Lawrence is tense and unsettling, treading the finest line between brilliance and madness. I absolutely adored it.” (Emily Duncan, New York Times best-selling author of the Something Dark and Holy trilogy) 

"A magnificent ode to gothic horror, Starling meticulously unravels beloved tropes to create a horrifically satisfying creation of her own. I loved every moment of this unsettling and brilliant tale!" (Erin Craig, New York Times best-selling author of House of Salt and Sorrows)

©2021 Caitlin Starling (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

2021, NPR Best Book of the Year

What listeners say about The Death of Jane Lawrence

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very origional, finally

Finally something original to sink my teeth into. I liked all the background story of the post-war world, but I would have liked to have maybe seen more of it. That and the multi layered ending are the only reason I took off a star. It was original, but took me a while to fully understand what she was experiencing... and I may or may not still have some questions...

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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I'm confused....

I don't know how to feel about this book. I managed to finish it but left the story nearly as clueless as I was when I started. I'm not really sure how the events of the story were resolved--if they even were, who the supposed "ghosts" were, or how the MCs managed to get out of where they were. The magic system was confusing, like everything else seemed to be, and I struggled with liking any of the characters.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Welp. Wow. I'm going to go stare out a window

The death of jane Lawrence leaves you with some big feelings. And then, as in real life, you have to make sense of it all. Was it madness? Magic? Or just cocaine?

I'm so glad that I read this around Halloween. It has the perfect spooky vibe for October

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Weak prose

I could not get past the first couple of chapters. If you are well grounded in pre-20th century English literature you will find this author's prose jarring. She seems to have set the book in some kind of steampunk alternative past in order to excuse anachronism and lack of research. Not at all what I expected from other reviews.

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Disturbing in a Word

***4.5 stars***

This was spectacular. It's a gothic tale with remnants of romance, psychological thriller, the supernatural, pure nightmare and magic throughout. I started this on a very foggy October morning and it gave me all the chills. It's a perfect spooky fall read and was honestly unsettling. Even from the beginning, it came off very eerie and the second Jane steps into Dr. Lawrence's surgery that first time, that feeling only grew. There was the overwhelming sense of something sinister happening right under the surface of that town, that house and Dr. Lawrence himself. The slow creeping reveal of every secret and spirit was enough to make me feel on the edge of my seat. Add to that Jane's unraveling and the effect was spine-tingling insanity. It reminds me very much of the movie "Crimson Peak," with the doomed gothic romance, the crumbling English manor, and the sickening amounts of blood.

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Overwrought and over written

I can’t believe I finished this book instead of returning it. I suppose I thought it would have to have a decent ending after so much drama, but,alas, the conclusion was as bad as the rest.
If you like overheated hysterical gothic fiction, this is for you. If not, don’t waste your time.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a mind f**k

Firstly: performance was FANTASTIC. Mandy Weston needs to be hired to narrate more books.

If there is one thing I have to say about this book, it is that it has definitely changed my taste in fiction itself. It is marvelous, even though there are small gripes I have about it. I took notes as I read the book and here are my initial takeaways when I was done:
- The book started to slow down at Chapter 30-ish. It felt like it was being dragged out.
- While the author gives us plenty to work with of the mental state of Jane and what she is feeling or thinking, it is too much at times.
- I love the setting. Post-war England. Augustine is a doctor/surgeon, Jane is an independent woman/accountant.
- Characters are WELL developed- as I said before, the author is good at letting us know what Jane is feeling. I definitely came to care for all the characters after a short time.

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

- LOTS of twists and detail. I didnt expect for there to be magic involved at all, you'd never tell when reading the summarization of the book. The author did lose me a bit when explaining logic throughout the magic portion of the book. I think it could have been done well without the additional explanations towards the end. It did feel like much of a filler.
- I think the way that Jane spiraled downwards was well written. She is a character who perceives herself to have great self-control and self-awareness, and realizes to a certain degree her sanity and decisions/judgement is slipping with the use of her magic and need to save Augustine. She is powerless to stop her actions, though.
- I could not put the book down. I was anxious the entire time, which is good, because the novel is gothic horror, and I think the author gave us the feelings that were intended (or at least to me)
- Plot twist at the end with Elodie and the "spirits" haunting Augustine as a whole. Mind blown. The whole plot twist really just makes the ending a mind fuck.

HUGE HUGE SPOILERS:
- The fact that Jane went back and forth with wondering if Augustine was dead or not after that time was annoying, even though I know there was a point to it. But the fact that it was semi-established but not FOR SURE that Augustine died after Jane trapped him in the crypt was confusing as a whole. So, did he ACTUALLY die? Why did he die so quickly? I am just confused at his death as a whole. People can survive days without food and water.
- Also, the entire 7 day ritual thing was SUPER anxiety inducing. Edge on your seat the entire time it was happening. It was all really a mind fuck. Starling did fantastic with that.

So in the end, the questions I really had were:
- Is Jane the original Jane?
- Is Augustine the original Augustine?
I think the answers to that are 'no', but I personally need more.

- Yes, Jane did die, as the title stated. But she lives. Amazing. Beautifully ended. Everyone loves a good happy ending.
- Did Jane see him die as the ghost echo? They both saw each other die. It is hard to explain. But my question is, since Elodie never existed as a "ghost" and she essentially helped herself when she was alive after she had died (as a ghost), does that mean the events play over and over in the universe? How did she become that ghost in the first place? Are all these events eternal? did she TIME TRAVEL!??! is it because the world Jane was in after she died wasn't truly a certain type of place, you could do essentially anything in that "plane"?
- The whole Dr. Nizamiev situation confused me. I read somewhere her last name is Devil or snake in Russian. What was her intent in the end? She was the one who turned Jane onto magic, ultimately, to save Augustine.

- I wish I had more with Augustine. I felt bad for him. I need there to be a second book, even though we had closure! Hahaha.

Anyway, I hope this review was insightful. Definitely a book that made it to all-time favorites!

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Great Story!

I loved this story. You definitely have to pay attention to understand some parts, but it was a great one to listen to. The Narrator was fantastic, and the writing was top notch! It wasn't a horror story in the sense that it was bone chilling and out right frightening, but it definitely gave me moments of wondering what was going to happen next! Highly Recommend!

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Just ok for me

I struggled to finish this. I found moments where I was interested. Overall, I feel like I have read this story before. The writing was fine, the story was fine.

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Engaging Turn-of-the-Century Magic and Medicine

This book held my interest all the way through. I enjoyed the premise, the main character and the little additions of earlier medical treatments, etc. I love books that weave educational historical elements alongside the fantastical.