Author: Tina Connolly
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Retellings are a trend that never gets old for me and I often especially love books like this, which are more inspired by the original than they are faithful retellings. The names are obviously inspired by Jane Eyre and there are some other close parallels – Jane Elliot as the governess of a child she’s uniquely qualified to understand, falling in love with her dark mysterious employer. My favorite parts are the less obvious inspiration this book takes from the original, turning the slight references to mystical activity in the first into a world in which the fey are very real for example. There are a few other less obvious connections which I can’t share without spoiling the story, but I will say that I found the whole thing a very fun and playful way to interact with the source material. The book was enjoyable on its own as well, with interesting characters and novel world-building. I enjoyed it and while I’d particularly recommend it to readers looking for a unique twist on Jane Eyre, I think most fans of YA will find something new to love here.
I feel like the critical response to this book has been very good and I’ve read a number of rave reviews, so I might just be a grump, but to me this book felt very average. It was an enjoyable, easy read and the tense pacing made it hard to put down. The idea was interesting, but the way it was executed left me underwhelmed. None of the characters were particularly fleshed out. I didn’t predict the big reveal at the end, but it felt obvious once the answers were revealed. The main characters didn’t see the big reveal coming any more than I did and I think the fact that the answers just fell into their laps is part of why the answers felt anticlimactic to me. I was also let down that the big reveal didn’t explain all of the strange things that were happening. In retrospect, this made most of the book feel like a distraction from the real story. Objectively, I do think the idea for this story is fairly unique and I know other people have enjoyed it, so I wouldn’t let my opinion dissuade you from picking this up.