Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
Jane’s young life is a rather difficult one – after her physically and mentally frail mother commits suicide, Jane is left in the care of her aunt who very openly and clearly despises her. Soon after her mother’s death, Jane’s aunt ships her off to a boarding school run by an evil and sadistic man. Through all of this, Jane has nobody to look after her but herself and she uses whatever means necessary…even murder…to ensure her continued safety.
“Reader, I murdered him.”
Once she finally breaks free and runs away from the dark boarding school, Jane must again survive on her own in the underbelly of London. While working odd jobs and befriending people who otherwise lurk in the shadows, Jane sees a public notice that her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new owner: Mr. Charles Thornfield….a man who is in need of a governess. Because Jane is desperate to know if she is the rightful heir of the home she resided in as a child, she hides her true identity from Mr. Thornfield and becomes his employee. When Jane finds herself falling maddeningly in love with Charles, she is faced with the dilemma of telling him the truth about who she believes she really is – a murderess.
“A word of advice: do not ever kill for love, or you will find yourself tethered, staked to the ground when your cleanest instincts require you to run for your life without a backwards glance. Killing for love is one of the most tangled acts you can commit, reader, in an already twisted world.”
I have very vague memories of being forced to read Jane Eyre in High School and barely skimming though it enough to complete the assignment. I wasn’t then (and am not really now) a huge fan of the older “classics”, but when I saw this pegged as a “gothic retelling” of Jane Eyre, I was completely intrigued!
I went in a little skeptical…but I shouldn’t have worried…I ended up enjoying this book quite a bit! The first 30-40% moved pretty quick for me, and then it did sort of hit a slow period where I got worried that I might lose interest. Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long and it picked back up again.
I absolutely adored the heroine of Jane Steele and was rooting for her the entire time. Some of my favorite parts were where the different characters all realized that they secretly either loved someone else or that another loved them…and how deeply that secret love can affect people’s lives and the choices they make.
If you are a fan of the old classics (or even like me and are NOT a fan of them) and can appreciate a more “twisted” and dark retelling, I think you’ll enjoy this one!
My rating: 4/5 Stars