Written exclusively for Mochas, Mysteries and More
By Joanna Campbell Slan
Author of Death of a Schoolgirl
That “somebody” was Brontë herself. According to her biographer Elizabeth Gaskill, “The helplessness of an animal was its passport to Charlotte's heart.” Indeed, the author hated to get up from her chair and disturb the family’s black cat as it rested in her lap. And when she did rise, she would gently reposition the pet elsewhere.
According to Christine Alexander and Jane Sellars in their book The Art of the Brontës, “The Brontës were seldom without a cat…” First there was Tiger, whose striped marking lent him his name, and later came a black tabby named Tom. “Keeper, Flossy and Tiger” is one of the best-known Brontë animal portraits, painted by Charlotte’s sister Emily, and much treasured by the family. Of all the Brontë siblings, Emily seemed to best understand the true nature of cats. She wrote, “They know how to value our favours at their true price, because they guess the motives that prompt us to grant them.”
So why didn’t Charlotte give Jane a cat? At the start of the book, perhaps it is Charlotte’s way of showing us the emptiness of Jane’s life. We know the author must have thought about cats, and their contribution to blissful domesticity, because when we meet Jane’s cousins Diana and Mary, the latter has a cat on her lap.
Whatever the reason for the omission, you’ll be happy to know that I’ve corrected the problem. My book Death of a Schoolgirl begins where Jane Eyre leaves off. So I’ve taken the liberty of introducing a wonderful feline character named Mephisto, a cat described as not having “a spot of white anywhere.” Eventually, Mephisto goes home to live with Jane, who dotes on him.
I think Charlotte Brontë would approve.
Death of a Schoolgirl
(The Jane Eyre Chronicles)
First in Series
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (August 7, 2012)
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense
In her classic tale, Charlotte Brontë introduced readers to the strong-willed and intelligent Jane Eyre. Picking up where Brontë 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 Adèle 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 Adèle’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 Adèle’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…
About The Author
Award-winning and National Bestselling authorJoanna Campbell Slan is the creator of the Kiki Lowenstein Mysteries (an Agatha Award Finalist) and The Jane Eyre Chronicles (Winner of the 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award). This fall will see the debut of the Cara Mia Delgatto books, a new mystery series set on the Treasure Coast of Florida, featuring a young woman who runs a recycling/repurposing shop. In her past life, Joanna was a television talk show host, an adjunct professor of public relations, a sought-after motivational speaker, and a corporate speechwriter. She is the mother of Michael Slan, a professional poker player, and she is married to David Slan, CEO of Steinway Piano Gallery-DC. The Slans and their two dogs make their home on Jupiter Island, Florida. Visit Joanna’s website at www.JoannaSlan.com
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Be sure to leave a comment with your email address, in addition to the tour-wide giveaway below, I have one paperback copy of Death of a Schoolgirl to give away! (US only, ending 9/30)