Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Review: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Blurb from Goodreads:
Reader, I murdered him. 

A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre.

Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked - but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.

A fugitive navigating London's underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate's true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household's strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him - body, soul and secrets - and what if he discovers her murderous past? 
My Review:
This was incredible.  I will admit that the first 20% made the book feel unending because it took me so long to read, and I felt that I was having trouble getting into this one, and then things took off.  While there are parallels to Jane Eyre, it is interesting to note that in this book, Jane Steele is fully aware of and versed in the novel of Jane Eyre and often compares herself to the same.  Each chapter commences by quoting a passage from Jane Eyre to further demonstrate the parallel stories although the story here is pretty different and has a lot of complexities.  This one is so hard to describe except that you need to read it -- it will enchant and delight you and you will fall in love with Jane and Thornfield as well as the imaginative "retelling" that has so many different components of murder, mystery and intrigue.  The only thing I could fault with this one is some of the storytelling regarding the past and a lot of war details that were not as interesting to me as other parts of the book.

I highly recommend this to fans of Jane Eyre if you are open to going slightly beyond canon -- this is satirical and supremely well done!  I would be remiss if I also didn't tell you that the declaration of love was probably the best I have ever read after Pride and Prejudice.  I know I will return to that passage often. Definitely a favorite of this year so far!!  Jane Steele is scheduled to be released next week, on March 22, 2016, you can purchase HERE, and I highly, HIGHLY recommend it! 
By day I taught Sahjara, who brought me unceasing small presents ranging from orange flower cakes to bouquets of jolly red berries; by night, I imagined my employer making the sort of inappropriate advances which would have made most governesses flee the estate forthwith, and in graphic detail, complete with bare thighs and calloused fingers and the diagonal notches which rest so sweetly above the hipbones when a gentleman is in training, as I had no doubt whatsoever Mr. Thornfield was.


  1. So, I have never read Jane Eyre or P&P. Awful, right? I just can't get into the classics. But this one sounded interesting to me. I hope I don't have to have read Jane Eyre to enjoy it? Great review!

  2. I am so happy to see you loved this one! I LOVE Jane Eyre, LOVE! So, this is high up my wishlist. It sounds like it had a rough start, but it progressed really well. I can't wait, Eva! :D
    Great review!

  3. I loved Jane Eyre years ago and have wondered about retellings and whether I would enjoy them. Fairy retellings, I can handle. Classic retellings - something has kept me from going after them, but THIS book has been in the back of my mind for a couple of months, leaving me on the fence about reading it. I'm glad it worked so well for you. Maybe I can jump to the read side of the fence on it, now.

  4. Great review! I love Jane Eyre and I'm dying to read this one. :)

  5. I absolutely love Jane Eyre and have yet to read a retelling but this sounds incredible. There's just enough there to relate to the original storyline, but the gothic twist makes it unique. Even though it's slow to start I can't wait to grab a copy! Brilliant review Eva, really enjoyed it <3

  6. I've never read Jane Eyre! But the gothic retelling does appeal to me! I won't lie- I'm quite interested in reading this declaration of love that rivals that of P&P!

  7. Wow, what a crazy-interesting take on Jane Eyre! It's been years since I read JE but this one sounds so different that I'm intrigued. But what really just got me was your mention of the declaration of love. Sold! :)

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

  8. Wonderful review, Eva! Yes, I think I was too impatient for this one, because I probably would've ended up loving it by the end. The writing was just driving me beyond crazy! Your review makes me wonder if I should try again some other time.

  9. I really liked the quotes at the beginning of each chapter! You were right it did keep Jane Eyre in mind and helped me see where the author was going. So glad you liked this one too! Great review!


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