“Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.
But there’s a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane’s much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?
An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.” [Publisher's Summary]
I’ll begin this review with an ending: In the end, when the last few pages of Jane were turning under my hand, butterflies gathered in my stomach and flew. My reaction was immediate and visceral and twofold: On the one hand, I wanted to hold the book to my chest, and on the other, I wanted to get it into someone else’s hands so that they could experience it too. In short, I adored April Lindner’s Jane.
I can – and do – love and admire feisty heroines. It’s a distant sort of admiration, wistful even, because those girls and I do not share a similar reflection. But Jane, she resonated. I recognized her scars, her quiet strength, her halting but unshakable determination, and it made all the difference in the world. Invested in her as I was, my reading experience was imbued with pleasure and nearly painful tension; I knew Jane would encounter trials, just as I knew she’d find her happiness. The getting there set my emotions swinging. Every once in a while I need a Jane, someone truer to myself, not only in the books I read, but in the stories that move me.
Obvious divergences aside, Jane is a faithful retelling. It surprised me, actually, how true some of it was to the original, and where it slipped off the path, the logic of its contemporary issues made perfect sense for its modern setting. Casting Nico as a rock star was a stroke of brilliance. His passion for music struck me; the complications that came with his fame lent his character an appropriate edge; and the difference between his position and Jane’s gave the “forbidden love” aspect credence. Nico was sexy and disarming, arrogant and self-aware, tender and domineering; he was a million shades of shouldn’t-be-but-is wonderful.
I can’t claim to be a fan of the original Jane Eyre; that might simply be put down to reading Bronte’s novel at the wrong time in my life. But Jane is a novel that my younger self would have cherished as surely as I do now.
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