#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Jane Steele

March 16, 2016 Fiction, Gothic, Re-telling 19 ★★★★★

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Jane SteeleTitle: Jane Steele
Author: Lyndsay Faye
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: Everything I had hoped for in a dark, exciting classic retelling!

“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?” (source)

The premise of this retelling sounded both awesome and a little ridiculous to me, but the reading experience was completely awesome. I found reading the original Jane Eyre a little frustrating because Jane just accepts the poor treatment she receives and because I found Mr. Rochester patronizing, sometimes to the point that his relationship with Jane felt paternal. In this book, Jane is an equally strong character with a dark, mysterious past of her own and is far more his equal in their relationship as a result. There was also a lot more chemistry, which I enjoyed. I will mention that it was almost sexier than I’d expect from YA and Jane’s completely unremarked, sometimes recreational laudanum use was also a surprise. I’d lean towards recommending this to people looking for a dark adult, retelling more than YA readers.

(Edit: Although based on the cover, I expected a YA read, it turns out I was mistaken. This is listed as an adult retelling, something I would say it completely succeeded at.)

As you might expect, this was more action packed than the original. I also found it very satisfying to see the bad guys get what was coming to them, even if I wouldn’t approve of Jane’s vigilante justice in real life. I wasn’t sure at first about the author’s conceit of having the main character be aware of Jane Eyre, but it ended up really working for me. I loved how the author highlighted parallels between the stories with quotes from the original and the fact that Jane found solace in a favorite book only endeared her to me. The only small complaint I had with this book is that Thornfield had a strange quirk where he sometimes dropped into slangier English and it felt out of place every time. Other than this very minor detail, this book was everything I hoped for. If this appeals to you at all, I’d definitely recommend picking it up.
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19 Responses to “#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Jane Steele”

  1. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    The description did make me a bit doubtful, but it’s great to know you enjoyed it so much! With Brooding About the Brontes week coming up, I’m looking at all kinds of retellings, and this sounds like a good one.

  2. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    Oh so awesome that you loved this!! My review goes up next week, and I loved it too. Which is always a big thing for me because the original is near and dear to my heart. I totally agree that this succeeds as a retelling, and the dynamic between Jane and Thornfield is a lot of fun. 🙂

  3. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Yayyy I’m glad you liked this, and I’m actually glad it’s an adult novel, not YA. I adore YA but haven’t been in the mood for it lately. I hear such good things about Jane Steele, can’t wait to read it!

    • DoingDewey

      Haha, it does seem like something that could go badly wrong! It worked for me though. I enjoyed it even more than the original 🙂

  4. Naomi MacKinnon

    I’ve been waiting to hear about his one! I’m usually wary of re-tellngs, but this one sounds like a fun one. Who doesn’t want to see the bad guys get what they have coming to them (at least in fiction form)?

  5. Carol Doscher

    Thank you for your review. The book sounds interesting. Love the cover.

    • DoingDewey

      I like the cover too, although I think it was part of why I expected this to be YA. Something about the cute pattern just strikes me as young.

  6. Melinda

    I just read a 5 star review on this one on another blog and have to say this got my attention. I do think I should probably read Jane Eyre first before I read this one? (I bought Jane Eyre the other day…)

    • DoingDewey

      I think it would be a good idea to read the original first. I don’t think you’d have to read the original to enjoy this one, but it is very spoilery for the original.

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