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Review: Jane by April Lindner

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cover of Jane by April Lindner
3 Stars

In this modern-day retelling of Jane Eyre, Jane Moore is a penniless student who's just had to drop out of college and take a job as a nanny working for rock star Nico Rathburn.

I love Jane Eyre. I love Mr. Rochester. The idea of this book intrigued me. How exactly would all that Gothic deliciousness translate to the modern age? Reasonably well.

But first, what didn't work. For me, anyway.

For my taste, this book was actually a little too faithful to the original. It was like there was a list of the major events and they were dutifully checked off. Jane as an orphan? Check. Older brother figure locking her in a room overnight? Check. A dog named (Co)Pilot? Check. A chance meeting where Mr. Rochester/Rathburn almost plows over Jane and they argue because she doesn't know who he is? Check. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I somehow would have preferred the story to veer off in its own direction more. I know Jane Eyre. I want to read Jane Moore's story.

And then there's the whole...does it even count as a spoiler if you're talking about a well-known twist from a classic? I'll be safe. If you know the story of Jane Eyre, read on. (Highlight below to see what you're missing)

Begin possible spoiler:

The wife in the attic. There's no reason for that to happen now. Back in Jane Eyre's day, once married, always married. You didn't have many options to get rid of a crazy wife. Nowadays, not so much. The author did what she could, which is definitely more creative than anything I would have thought of, but I still didn't buy it. I couldn't even quite decide exactly why Nico kept her locked up. He said it was because he didn't want to see her locked in an asylum. OK. I'll try to buy that one. Even though my head says, "He could pay for the nicest place in the world, or at least keep her somewhere that she's not going to burn the house down around his ears." But then Jane's going on about the unexpected tenderness he shows toward Bibi (the wife). So is he keeping her around because he still loves her? And there's an element of him feeling guilt about getting her hooked on drugs and possibly setting this all off. I know people's reasons for doing anything are complicated but this felt too complicated. Still, I think it's the best anyone could do.

End possible spoiler.

It was fun to think of Mr. Rochester as a rock star. In my head he became Jon Bon Jovi. That's just fine by me. I'll let him dance through my imagination anytime.

I've spent more time on what I had a problem with than what I liked. I did enjoy the concept of the whole book. I would never have attempted to move that story into the present, for the big spoiler-y reason above. Hats off to April Lindner for tackling it and handling it as well as anyone possibly could.

Read an excerpt.

Find author April Lindner on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy Jane at

Off the Shelf 2014

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

2 comments:

  1. I haven't read Jane but I read the original :)
    I agree with you that if the author is covering a story and bringing it into modern times, then she should have wandered a bit off the path and made it her own. Still, an interesting concept--thanks for sharing.

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  2. +JMJ+

    That's a great point about veering off into original territory now and then! Like Mr. Rochester as a rock star. =D I agree that it's a cool twist. So it's too bad that the rest of the book seems to be a paint-by-numbers karaoke cover.

    ReplyDelete

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