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Jane Steen Books In Order

Publication Order of The House of Closed Doors Books

The House of Closed Doors (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Eternal Deception (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Shadow Palace (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Scott-De Quincy Mysteries Books

Lady Helena Investigates (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Unforgotten (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Bars of the Marshalsea (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jane Steen is a historical mystery author who writes nineteenth-century historical novels that are a combination of saga and mystery with a dash of romance. She is very much inspired by the love of drama and death in Victorian fiction, even though she loves to say that she writes on the fluffier and lighter end of historical fiction. Her love for historical fiction probably comes from the fact that she was named after Jane Eyre, one of her favorite novelists. This has doomed her to a passionate interest in Victorian fiction while the world around her got to modernization. Steen was born in the tail end of the 1950s and spent much of her early childhood and early adulthood in England at a time when hippies, strikes, shortages, socialism, and recessions were the order of the day. Jane went to a school where pretty much everyone proceeded to college, but went against the norm as the only graduate career anyone could suggest was teaching. By the 1980s, she was living in Belgium as an expatriate dividing her days between English and French. One of the best things about living in Brussels was that she got to go to the theatre, which is where she met her husband who loved the theater as much as she did.

By the mid-80s, while still working for American law firms in Brussels Jane Steen decided to go back to school and take a bachelor in English law and some courses in European Community and Belgian law. During this time, she worked for the American Chamber of Commerce as a committee reporter, an editor for a Belgian law firm (she was involved in the writing of articles for the partners and translation of affidavits), editorial assistant for a magazine, and associate for a small tax and legal company where she learned to talk to local bureaucrats and prepare contracts. While life in Belgium was very good for Steen, she moved across the world to Chicago during the 2000s and changed careers once again. While pursuing her masters, she started working in real estate. It was during this time that her love for nineteenth-century literature which she had in high school was reignited. She had been reading genre fiction for many years but once the real estate market went bust in 2008, she decided to move on once again. Jane got a fundraising job as she had the writing skills to be good at writing fundraising proposals. She would then part company with her company due to office politics and it was then that she decided she was done with the corporate life.

Jane Steen found herself in a state of shock at home and it was then that she decided to become an author. She suddenly had a wave of creativity and in no time had finished writing the manuscript for her first novel that would never get published. At this time, she survived on lucrative freelance work from the contacts she made fundraising. The money she earned made it possible for her to self-publish her works. Just like many other people that had to deal with pink slips and purges due to the economic collapse, she thought being her own boss was the best thing. As such independent publishing was the most natural path to take. “The House of Closed Doors” her debut novel was published by Aspidistra Press her own Imprint in 2012. Steen has never looked back since. She now lives back in England and when she is not writing her novels she loves to engage in Shotokan karate, plays sports, and spends time with family in a small delightful tourist town on the south coast.

“The House of Closed Doors” by Jane Steen is set in the 1870s in a small Midwestern town. The lead is Nell Lillington who is a young woman that has to get married as is the destiny of any woman of social standing. But Nell is determined not to go through the restrictions and duties of marriage. As such, when she learns that she is expectant at seventeen, she refuses to tell anyone, not even Martin her childhood friend who the father of the child is. Hiram her stepfather banishes her to the Poor Farm to wait until her baby is born. He plans to have the child discreetly adopted as soon as it is born so that the family can be spared the embarrassment. She is willing to go with his plans until he opens a padded unused cell and two small bodies come tumbling out. Nobody else on the farm believes the mother and baby had been killed but Nell is no longer willing to give up her child to Poor Farm. But even if she refuses to give up her child and manages to escape, there are few places to run to where she can be safe.

Jane Steen’s “Eternal Deception” opens to Nell leaving Poor Farm with Sarah her infant child and Tess her friend. They are heading to Kansas where they hope to start new lives. Nell gets a job as a seamstress for a Seminary, only to find that the seminary is not as solid as she thought it was. She discovers that the seminary is split by competing factions with the pursuit of prestige and money valued over truth. As she becomes a more skilled seamstress, she starts working for the rich women in the locality. The money Nell makes from this she sends to Martin her faithful friend back home who invests it, while building his Chicago department store. She is an attractive young woman and she is soon attracting the attention of men in Kansas. She is being pursued by a calculating, cold but handsome teacher named Judah Poulton and an impetuous, young, and wealthy student named Reinar Lehmann. Nell likes the idea of having a father for Sarah but she is torn between the two men. When two strange murders make the seminary a dangerous place, she is forced to decide on whether it is a place to set down roots. Maybe her heart would be happier in the Midwest, in Chicago.

“The Shadow Palace” by Jane Steen opens to Nell having moved back to Chicago, where she hopes to start a new life with the money she has accumulated over the years. She is still trying to figure out if she can make it work between her and Martin. But days after her arrival in the city, Martin’s wife is killed and he is taken in as the lead suspect. Nell decides that she has to help him by going undercover as a sleuth working in the ex-wife family’s store. Martin is struggling to prove that he did not kill his wife even as Nell is establishing herself and her family in Chicago. Taking a false name, she goes from working for the competition and ends up working as a seamstress for Martin’s store. Nell is also getting involved in the social scene but she has to be careful as she would be marked as a pariah if it came to light that her daughter is illegitimate. She reconnects with her family when she goes to dinner only to realize the waiter is her long lost sibling. Nell still has not forgotten that her family was responsible for sending her to the Poor Farm and needs time to decide if she wants anything to do with them. Will Nell, Martin, Sarah, and Tess have their happily ever after.

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