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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre “last confessions” of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement. Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.
Burning to know whether she is in fact the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito, and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents—the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, and the gracious Sikh butler Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair’s violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him—body, soul, and secrets—without revealing her own murderous past?

I got this book for my birthday. I love Jane Eyre and adore retellings, though not the "and zombies" style.

I had some issues with this book, but for the most part I enjoyed it. It's a bit darker than the original novel, though calling the heroine a heroic serial killer like the blurb does is misleading. 

Jane Steele is a great character, strong female with an interesting back story. The additional cast of characters I also enjoyed, Clarke (until the end) one of my favorites.

You can tell the author did a ton of research with the places and cultures she weaves into her story telling. Reading this was quite like reading the original in style if not content. 

The first part where Jane is young and winds up in the girl's school is my favorite part. The evil headmaster, weak teachers and awful punishments mixed well with the way the author wrote the students comradery and individual personalities.  I also enjoyed reading about Jane in London writing gallows confessions and truly learning who she is and what she enjoys

The last few chapters of the novel where the plot line climaxes and everything winds up and back down again were really good, in fact you could almost say in this novel Jane is actually Mr. Rochester rather than her namesake character.

While I did enjoy Mr. Thornfied and his staff, I found the middle part of the book to be a whole hell of a lot of tell instead of show. Pages upon pages of dialogue telling about past events and character history, that quite frankly bored me to tears and had me speed reading or skimming through chunks. This is the reason for four stars instead of five. Example: there are literally two scenes, one after another where Jane sits and listens to someone drone on at her about events that happened years before and while the information gathered does move the plot along it is dull getting there.

I do recommend reading this if you like Jane Eyre, the macabre,  dark humor and different cultures.

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