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Janeology by Karen Harrington


by Karen Harrington

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
I won this book from a giveaway on the author's blog. I started reading it the day I received it. The front cover calls the book "a legal thriller ripped from the headlines," but that's not exactly the case. Yes, the story centers around two trials, but it delves so much deeper than that. Harrington studies the people involved with these cases as well as their relatives - living and dead. Jane, a mother of young twins, has a breakdown and tries to drown her children - one dies, and one survives. Her insanity plea is disputed by many factors, like telling someone to call 911 (implying she knew something was wrong), and brings about another case against her husband, Tom. Her husband should have seen all this coming, right? Should have known his wife was capable of murdering her own children. Tom's mother hires an attorney to prove this allegation wrong, and though he's overwhelmed with guilt, Tom fights only because he needs to raise his surviving daughter.

To dispute this claim, Tom's attorney hires a clairvoyant, who uses items from Jane's past, items Jane had hidden from her husband, to learn about Jane's genealogy (ahh, see the cleverness of the title now?). We learn about Jane's parents, their childhoods, her grandparents and their childhoods, and so on and so on. The courtroom drama was an interesting way to frame a much bigger story. And the ending... my goodness was the ending amazing. Your heart will be pounding for pages beforehand and then... just read it. ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
I really liked the book. Well written and just a great read. I could not put it down. Just amazing how everything just really worked itself into this great story. I have not been to Texas but really felt like I had. Putting past and present together and really making it work. I would definitely definitely say READ...... ( )
  Hillgirl | Oct 13, 2010 |
Janeology was a bit closer to home for me than it would be for others. No, I'm not related to any of those too-many mothers who kill their children for whatever crazy reasons they may have. I meant the other part: I live in east Texas, where all these things seem to happen.

The setting of the book was familiar. I live in, near, and around the places mentioned in the book (well, the present-day places). I must credit Karen Harrington, the book's author, for her believable portrayal of my current home town. Way to go.

The book, set in Houston, involves a mother, Jane, who drowns her son. The courts deem her insane, and as such, cannot adequately punish her in today's "eye-for-an-eye" litigious society. So, a group of concerned citizens help redirect the blame onto the father, Tom.

The book involves Tom's attempt at defending himself from the blame, whose strongest support is the fact that he should have known that Jane would do such a thing.

At the end of his rope, trying everything he can to cling to his remaining family, the twin sister of his deceased son, all the while starting to believe he's at fault, his mother hires a lawyer to defend his case: one of those tough, Texas ball-breakers.

Tom's conviction would lead to a horrible precedent, making individuals guilty for crimes committed by others, just because they should have known better. The case, then, is to prove Tom's innocence. And the best way to do that is through pointing the finger at something else: Jane's genetics.

Having little known about Jane's family, Tom's lawyer hires a clairvoyant, who is also related to Jane, to use retrocognition in association with some family heirlooms, to show that Jane's story was just the tail-end of a big, messy family history. And all the facts check out.

While at first I was a bit befuddled at the concept of a serious lawyer using new age methods in a case, I soon just suspended my disbelief and got on with the story. I suppose it's just as believable that a clairvoyant's visions could help "disprove" a case brought solely on emotionally charged reasons.

Harrington captures the voice of several of Jane's ancestors, fitting the voice for the era, and including bits and pieces from that time to make those pieces all the more believable. While reading, I was reminded of the video game "Eternal Darkness," only without any Lovecraftian gods mucking about with the universe.

The book is compelling and well-written. It was not necessarily a book I'd pick up and read on my own, though. If you can get over that clairvoyant hump, Janeology is part family history, part courtroom drama, and entirely readable for such a grim subject as it covers. ( )
2 vote aethercowboy | Apr 1, 2010 |
Have you ever seen on the news a story about a mother who killed her own child and wondered 'What would make her do that?' or 'How could she do that to her own child?' In JANEOLOGY, these are the very questions that Tom Nelson is asking about his wife, Jane after she drowns one of their toddler twins. Thankfully, the other survived.

It was a day like any other until a policeman showed up at Tom's classroom at the Texas college where he teaches, to tell him he needed to come home with him. That there was some trouble at his house. Not in his wildest imagination could he have perceived what he would discover there.

After Jane's trial, where she was committed to a psychiatric hospital, the prosecutor's office soon began to focus on Tom and he was charged with Failure To Protect. Why hadn't he seen this coming? Didn't he know his wife was unstable? Was he guilty of not protecting his children from their mother? The answers to these questions are the basis for Tom's legal defense.

With the help of his dedicated lawyer, a lot of research and a clairvoyant who has her own interest in the case, they begin a journey into Jane's family history that leads them to startling revelations that at least begin to explain why Jane did the unthinkable.

JANEOLOGY is a book that has a dark side and I found myself getting lost in Jane's past as her husband tries to make sense of it all. Karen Harrington draws on the abilities of a clairvoyant in her story to travel through time and look into past lives that have ultimately contributed to one woman committing an unforgivable crime against her own child.

The story is told in the days leading up to Tom's own trial with each chapter introducing a descendant from Jane's family tree, beginning with her mother's geneology and bringing it full circle with her father's family history. I thought the way in which the story was told was imaginative and brilliant. When telling a story with many family members, it's hard not to get lost or to lose track of who is who. This is not a problem in reading JANEOLOGY.

Once I started reading, I had difficulty putting it down. It's the kind of book I enjoy reading the most. Not a lot of fluff or descriptive reading. Just the meat of a good story. Another thing I liked most about it was the ending. I felt completely satisfied and it didn't feel like it was predictable at all. I can't say anymore about it, but I liked the way it ended. I do have one regret and that is that I waited so long to read this book. ( )
  SouthernGirlReads | Feb 26, 2010 |
I got through the prologue and part way through part one before I had to put this book down. Being a mother of an infant this story was so striking already in the first few pages that I could not bring myself to continue reading. I am hoping that some time in the future when my son is older I will be able to pick it up again and finish without feeling completely heart-wrenched. ( )
  bleached | Jan 10, 2010 |
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In almost every generation, nevertheless, there happened to be some one descendant of the family gifted with a portion of the hard, keen sense, and practical energy, that had so remarkably distinguished the original founder. His character, indeed, might be traced all the way down, as distinctly as if the Colonel himself, a little diluted, had been gifted with a sort of intermittent immortality on earth.

Nathaniel Hawthorne
The House of Seven Gables
For my mother and father.
First words
I stared at my attorney as he began his defense that I did not share the blame in the murder of my son.
Chapter One:
Here's what I remember about that day.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 160164020X, Hardcover)

Jane, a loving mother of two, has drowned her toddler son and is charged with his murder in this powerful examination of love, loss, and family legacy. When a prosecutor decides Jane's husband Tom is partially to blame for the death and charges him with "failure to protect," Tom's attorney proposes a radical defense. He plans to create reasonable doubt about his client's alleged guilt by showing that Jane's genealogy is the cause of her violence, and that she inherited her latent violence in the same way she might inherit a talent for music or a predisposition to disease. He argues that no one could predict or prevent the tragedy, and that Tom cannot be held responsible. With the help of a woman gifted with the power of retrocognition—the ability to see past events through objects once owned by the deceased—the defense theory of dark biology takes form. An unforgettable journey through the troubled minds and souls of Jane's ancestors, spanning decades and continents, this debut novel deftly illustrates the ways nature and nurture weave the fabric of one woman's life, and renders a portrait of one man left in its tragic wake.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:22 -0400)

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