Today is the on-sale date for a new series that will to appeal of fans of cozy mysteries—and of course, fans of Jane Eyre. The series stars Jane Eyre as an amateur sleuth, and picks up where Charlotte Brontë’s novel left off. In Death of a Schoolgirl, Jane poses as a teacher at London's Alderton House School for Girls, where trouble is brewing.

Author Joanna Campbell Slan is also the author of the Kiki Lowenstein mystery series. In a very personal essay for, she explains how Jane Eyre helped her through tough times in her life . . . and why she chose to write about the famous heroine in her new book.

I grew up in a chaotic, violent household. Notice I chose the word “household” rather than “home.” To me a “home” is a place of solace, renewal and love. None of those adjectives describe the rundown house in Vincennes, Indiana, the dwelling I shared with my alcoholic parents and two sisters.

Although he wasn’t averse to shoves and slaps, my father’s real forte was emotional abuse. “You will never be able to support yourself. You’ll come running back to me,” he told me, over and over.

I worried that he was right. There seemed to be no way out, no escape. Just an endless horizon of more of the same.

My only respite was reading. “You always have your nose in a book,” my mother would sneer.

Read the whole essay here. Have any book characters inspired your life?

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