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BSFA Review: The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

10/01/2024 18:41 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The Death of Jane Lawrence cover

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

(Titan Books, 2022)

Reviewed by Steven French

This is a dark and deeply weird book. Set in an alternative nineteenth century England, whose capital is ‘Camhurst’, it opens with the protagonist, Jane Shoringfield, formally meeting her soon-to-be husband, Dr. Augustine Lawrence. Having lost her parents in the war with Ruzka, Jane has been brought up by her guardians, Mr and Mrs Cunningham, in the small town of Larrenton. With Mr Cunningham about to take up a judgeship in Camhurst, however, Jane must find her own way in the world and so she decides to marry but purely as a business agreement. With her mathematically trained mind and having kept her guardian’s ledgers, she feels she has a lot to offer a small-town GP. Dr Lawrence, for his part, tries to put her off, emphasising that there will be blood ‘and great sadness and terror’. He even adds an inviolable stipulation—he must spend his nights at his ancestral home, several miles outside of town and she can never join him there.

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Review from BSFA Review 21 - Download your copy here.


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