• The Death of Jane Lawrence

  • A Novel
  • By: Caitlin Starling
  • Narrated by: Mandy Weston
  • Length: 13 hrs and 28 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (293 ratings)

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The Death of Jane Lawrence

By: Caitlin Starling
Narrated by: Mandy Weston
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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

Featured Article: What Is Gothic Fiction? A Genre Explainer


Some of the most popular and enduring novels and short stories are works of Gothic fiction, including Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. These creepy, creaky literary classics have the power to transport listeners to foggy moors and crumbling estates, where wolves howl in the night and shadows lurk in the hallways. But Gothic fiction is more than just cobwebs and candelabras.

What listeners say about The Death of Jane Lawrence

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Promising but Messy

This book wanted to be like "Crimson Peak" but sadly, it failed. I don't want to spend any more time on this book than I already have because it took everything I could for me to finish it.
I can't stand being excited about a book and really building it up in my head and then being utterly let down to the reality of it being....botched.

The story begins in one way, then keeps taking these turns, sharp turns that leave you not wanting to read but wanting to turn back from literal confusion. Maybe thinking that you missed something.
It has your markers of gothic literature:

Ghosts
Haunted Old Houses
English Countryside
Day and Night environment differences
Unreliable narration/paranoia
Gore
Dark atmospheres
Shock value

It however doesn't have the "damsel in distress" story line. More a feminist heroine, who is manic, indecisive yet unyielding.

I will say while the story is...meh, the description of the story is wonderful. It makes you feel like you are experiencing what Jane is experiencing, especially the gore that is involved. The atmosphere of the house and how Starling describes it is top tier. I just wish the story went a smooth, and velvety. For that reason I gave it 3 stars , instead of 2. That being said, maybe this story will resound with a specific audience who isn't familiar with these kinds of stories. This is definitely not "Rebecca" or Mary Shelley or Bram Stoker, but it has potential, I guess you just have to have the patience for this, and the timeline, sometimes rushed sometimes dragging.

4 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.

4 people found this helpful

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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

  • 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

2 people found this helpful

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It was ok

The first half was so good. The author then just went off the deep end and kept Jane at complete 1000% horror and anxiety the whole time and I couldn’t stomach it. She didn’t slowly ease her into any emotion it was either panic or confusion. The main character stopped thinking and making sound decisions that she seemed to originally pride herself on. After she experienced the initial fear she never calmed down again. It was annoying. The first half was very intriguing and I loved the writing. It slow subtle a good gothic romance. After that though I am thoroughly disappointed. The book was never at a comfortable pace after the beginning.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

A hot mess. Desperately needs editing.

This is a horror story exploring survivor guilt (after a fictional war between fictional countries). OK, not a bad idea. This books starts out alright, then takes a right turn into crazy, confusing, surreal and (surprisingly) boring. It's repetitive. There are long stretches of word-for-word "magic spells" and made-up rituals. It's gory and gruesome at points. I didn't really care about the main character or anyone else. I'm still not totally sure what happened, which I can live with in certain circumstances, but here I'm just exasperated. The narrator did well. I made it through, but that's just because I will listen to almost anything.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Such a Gothic Riveting Performance

Mandy Weston's reading is incredibly done, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Caitlin Starling has written such an excellent ghost story that contains so many twists and turns and has you thinking "is this real or am I imagining this"?

1 person found this helpful

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Deliciously Dark

This book is an experience. It is very dark and the story has the perfect Victorian gothic feel. I was hooked from the beginning as Jane shared about her life and the proposal she is about to make.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Refreshing New Age Gothic Horror

Super cool. Totally original. I could never guess where it was going. I love how the author mixed genres. I also love how the author was very cerebral with the text, intertwining mathematics, logic, magic, historical physician procedures. Very well done.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Magic, but make it math

Maybe if I was interested more in hard sciences than theoretical magic then I wouldn’t have been completely lost at parts. Other than the portions that tried so hard to sound like Hard Science, I found the book haunting in a fun way. An argument for trusting your editors v