Lady Jayne Disappears

Review by Bryan Dumas

In the summer of 1861, after Miss Aurelie Harcourt’s debtor father dies in Shepton Mallet Prison, she couldn’t imagine the wild twists and turn her life would take. Aurelie moves in with his wealthy sister and her family, and all that she has in her life now is her father’s pen name and the mysterious serialized story of Lady Jayne. She decides to finish her father’s story and even begins inserting her new family into the story in rather unflattering ways. Aurelie has to fight to keep her identity secret, struggle to fit in with her new family and ultimately discover the true identity of Lady Jayne—a woman who may be her own mother—and solve a murder in the meantime. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s the matter of the enigmatic houseguest with whom Aurelie is falling in love.

Joanna Davidson Politano delivers a remarkable debut novel with intriguing characters, a witty and mysterious plot, and a unique romance or two. It’s the kind of book where the reader tells themselves: Just 20 pages. And then they find themselves 100 pages later craving more. The English countryside, from the family’s cold and mysterious Lynhurst Manor to the dark and foreboding Mallet, all resonate with a wonderful authenticity, while every character draws the reader in. A book to savor and enjoy, and one not to miss.