The unloved Jane Steele is brought up by her stern and disapproving Aunt. She’s sent away to school at the first opportunity, where the girls are suppressed and mistreated. After a few… incidents… she moves on to be a governess to a precocious girl in a big house with a stern but attractive master. But there are secrets in the house which she begins to discover…
So far, so familiar. Right? But this Jane is made of stronger stuff, and faces even more extreme circumstances. And so, she turns to murder. MURDER! This is literally Jane Eyre with the main character as a MURDERESS. And, reader, I can tell you it is fantastic! I can remember just stopping reading to laugh. I rarely enjoy retellings or extra books written about classics but this was just incredible!
It balances the line between the known and the unknown very well. Though the structure and set up and balance of the story is much the same, a very different plot for Jane Steele is woven around it. This is compelling and mysterious in it’s own right, and I think goes a long way toward the fact that I don’t mind it as a re-take on an old book.
I think the difference is how extreme the difference is. Perhaps it is along the same lines as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I’ve never felt compelled to read, but the naughtiness of disrupting the canon with something so irreverent is truly delightful.
Faye has also done extremely well in the character of Jane Steele. Though evidently made of sterner stuff than her Bronte counterpart, and fairly quickly in the book a multiple murderess, she is still likeable. I don’t think I thought this would be possible, but I found myself rooting for her the whole way through. She’s fantastic, and a delight to read, and there is a part of you constantly wishing that our familiar Jane could have taken fate into her own hands a bit more.
I can highly, highly recommend this book as tremendous fun, well woven plots, good and gripping and likely to make you laugh out loud! Even writing this review is making me want to read it again, which doesn’t often happen.
Thanks so much to the publishers for sending me a review copy, I heartily enjoyed it, but would have done so if I paid for it or not.