Monday, November 27, 2017

LADY JANE DISAPPEARS - Joanna Davidson Politano - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I love introducing you to books that catch my fancy. Lady Jane Disappears is just such a book. I personally am not fond of novels written in first person, but this one grabbed me from the first page. The storyline is unique, and the characters three-dimensional. The plot twists often surprised me, and the storyline kept me turning pages. I know you’ll like this story.

Bio: Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at

Welcome, Joanna. Tell us a little about Lady Jayne Disappears.
This book is the result of asking, “What if an overlooked girl happened to secretly write her family into novels and publish them under a pen name?” Aurelie Harcourt has always created stories, and it’s the way she handles life in a home where she does not belong. She is writing the story of her mother, Lady Jayne, and the family that knew her before she disappeared. Aurelie begins digging into secrets and long-ago love stories to understand the people around her, but more than that, to discover what happened to the mother she’s never met.

Here’s more about the story.
Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s engaging novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her with just two things: his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll, and his wealthy family, who want very little to do with her.

As Aurelie struggles to adjust to her father’s family and learn the rules of society, she relishes in his parting gift—the beginning of his last story. The story she always wanted to hear about her mother’s mysterious disappearance from the home where she now lives. To complete the novel, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for clues from her relatives and one enigmatic houseguest.  Lynhurst Manor is a house built on secrets. Can the arrival of Aurelie Harcourt reveal them all?

Why did you decide to write about serial fiction? Why do you think it had such a great appeal?
Serial fiction resembles those addictive television shows we all anxiously await each week and then discuss passionately with friends. We become attached to characters and eagerly follow their struggles and victories to a grand conclusion, and working-class Victorians felt the same way about their serialized novels. Writing about serial fiction allowed me to delve into a charmingly vintage world while also presenting attitudes and circumstances that resemble our modern world, making the story relatable and relevant to our modern faith walks.

How did you develop the setting of the story? Did you visit a mansion that inspired you?
Big old houses are like characters to me. Each has a distinct personality and backstory just waiting for someone to unravel and understand. I’ve toured, stayed in, and climbed among the ruins of old houses throughout Great Britain, and many of my story ideas come from some unique aspect of a house I saw. I’m deeply fascinated with the people who have resided in these places, and their stories are so full of shadows and interesting corners with dark hallways just beyond. Lynhurst is based on a few different country houses I saw, but most of the layout and character are taken from Tyntesfield in Somerset. It’s a lovely old house with a wealth of stories.

What was the most interesting thing you learned while doing research for this book?
Debtor’s prison fascinates me. Charles Dickens spent time there when his father was a debtor, and his experiences made it into several of his books. It’s such an odd system, jailing people and keeping them from working until they can pay a debt, and my heart just ached for some of the individual stories I read of debtors. The place was run as a business, designed to scrape up anything of value the prisoners had or acquired from visiting relatives, and that still baffles me.

I’m also enchanted by the idea of pen names, which is an element of my heroine’s story. The Brontë sisters were famous for using them, and I loved the image of them revealing themselves to their publisher in person, as my heroine does in the opening of this novel. There’s also something so captivating to me about a seemingly nondescript person having a sort of secret super power.

Do you relate to Aurelie in any way? Did you have real people that inspired your characters?
Oh yes! Aurelie’s writer heart mirrors my own in so many ways. It was easy to create her struggles through writing and everything that hinders it, because they are problems I’ve walked through countless times. Stories have been a part of my heart and a lens for viewing the world as long as I can remember, just like Aurelie. Her inability to overlook hurting people, her desire to help, and her love of beautiful words are all pages torn out of my own life story. The most similar aspect of her nature, however, is the daughter-heart that looks up to her father as larger than life, painting over all his flaws and embracing him and everything he values. My father is a storyteller and book lover like Aurelie’s, and although he does not struggle with the vices that gripped Aurelie’s father, he has cultivated a strong father-daughter bond with me. It was easy to wring her heart when it came to her father, because mine is just as dear to me as hers is to her.

What lesson(s) do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?
There is one lesson my own heart has had a hard time learning over the years, and it’s the one Aurelie struggles with—if the world fits, you’re the wrong size. Just as Aurelie tries in vain to become a part of her wealthy socialite family, most of us have experienced the desire to belong somewhere, even if it was as unhealthy and broken as Aurelie’s family.

There’s a book I found in college that impacted me on this topic, and years later the truths from it remain with me. It convinced me that if we sometimes didn’t fit in to our earthly surroundings, that was all right. In fact, it was a sign we were doing things well. We all know this world is broken and sinful and messy, so why should we strive to fit into it? The more we resemble Christ, the more we feel at odds in this world. God designed us for a completely different environment that was ruined by sin, and now nothing will ever quite feel right until we’re reunited with God and saturated in his presence for eternity.

In what way would you say your faith is worked into the book?
As I wrote the book, I wrestled with how comfortable I should be in this world. Was it okay to be bothered by certain things, to be rejected by certain people? Should I seek to be content with what was in reach, or was a certain amount of discontent healthy? As my writer mind walked through this story with Aurelie, my Jesus-seeking spirit was working on realigning my motives and efforts with a larger focus than the here-and-now.

I began to appreciate and even embrace some of the countercultural parts of my personality and thinking as I reminded myself that Jesus was the most countercultural thinker ever! Jesus’s answers on success, wealth, priorities, and the value of certain people turned his listeners’ expectations upside down. The biggest one for me is that last one—the value of people. Why does the world automatically write off certain people? The elderly. The introverted. The homeless. Those who messed up in some way.

I’m infinitely content to be countercultural in this respect, and it’s been a passion of mine to reveal hidden value in the people the world so easily sidelines. I bring that into the book through Aurelie—not only does she see value in the debtors but she herself is written off by her own family and comes to understand how Christ values her.

What are you working on next?
My next story takes place in an English vineyard that holds a delightful secret. It features an artist whose only canvas is her room, from furniture to ceiling. Painting is her escape from a competitive search for her family’s fortune, which her father hid before his sudden death. The love story includes little nuggets of my own story, which was a joy to write.

How can readers connect with you?
Readers will find a glimpse of my writer heart and my passions on my website, .

For visual portrayals of my book concepts, find me on Pinterest at .

Thank you so much, Julianna, for allowing me to share this unique story with my blog readers. I know they’ll be as eager to read the book as I was.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Lady Jayne Disappears -
Lady Jayne Disappears - Amazon paperback
Lady Jayne Disappears - Kindle
Lady Jayne Disappears - Audiobook

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Melanie Backus said...

I am definitely intrigued by this book. Thank you for sharing!

Melanie Backus, TX

Vivian Furbay said...

This is quite an involved story. I feel sad about debtor's prison. After reading some of Dickens' books that have debtor's prison and workhouses, the so called religious people of that era were a bunch of self-righteous and hard-hearted twits. Look how little they helped the Irish during the potato famine. I like to read historical fiction and nonfiction historical books. Would enjoy reading Lady Jane Disappears. Vivian Furbay of Colorado

Abigail Mitchell said...

This looks really good!
Abigail in VA

A Cooking Bookworm said...

I have been very anxious to read this book!!

Binghamton, NY

mybabyblessings AT gmail DOT com

Tammie Edington Shaw said...

Been wanting to read this book. Reading from Illinois. teshawATsbcglobalDOTnet

Bonnie Engstrom said...

I'm usually not a fan, nor a reader, of historical novels, but this one sounds fascinating. The description reminds me of Downton Abbey which I loved.

Bonnie in AZ

Beth Gillihan said...

Sounds like a fascinating story! I look forward to reading it.

Beth in Montana

Trixi said...

Fun interview! Thank you for the giveaway chance, this book is one I've been interested in reading :-)

Trixi in OR

Unknown said...

Sounds interesting! I like the idea of intrigue and romance.

Patty said...

Sounds fascinating, I look forward to reading this book!

Patty in SC

VanG said...

I have yet to read a book by this author and would love to win a copy of this book. It sounds very intriguing. Thanks for the giveaway! 😍
VanG in NC

Pam K. said...

I've been intrigued with this book since I first started seeing it on book blogs. The cover is striking and the title makes me want to read it. Thanks for the chance to win Lady Jane Disappears.


Laura Waltz said...

I have wanted to read this book ever since I first saw the cover online. Lady Jayne Disappears has that element of history and mystery that makes me want to find out more about Aurelie's plotline. Thanks for the chance and fun review!

Laura in MI

Jane said...

Fascinating article! I have always thought debtor's prison was such an illogical idea, from the first time I learned about it in history class. Thanks! Jane from TX

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway SC.