Monday, June 13, 2016

REVIEW: Jane Steele

Jane Steele
Author: Lyndsay Faye

Jane Steele loves Charlotte Bronte's book, Jane Eyre. She sympathizes with Eyre because her own life mirrors portions of that heroine's life. Steele's early childhood is spent with relatives who detest her and a cousin who abuses her. She is then sent to a school where the headmaster mistreats and starves students. And, later in life, she works as a governess in a large house where mysteries abound. Jane Steele's life is like Jane Eyre's in many ways, but differs in one major twist:  Jane Steele is a serial murderer.

This book is not a retelling of Jane Eyre. It is the main character's favorite book, so Faye takes bits and pieces of dialogue and prose from the classic and weaves it in and around Steele's tale of her own life. In the end, the two stories delve into the same aspects of the human condition:  love, redemption, lies, betrayal, fear, deceit, good, and evil.

I enjoyed this book. I love it when a story surprises me. I didn't know what to expect from Jane Steele,  but quickly found myself engrossed in the story. It wasn't a retelling of an old, familiar, loved story, but something completely new with a bit of the classic book sprinkled here and there to season the tale.

A reader does not have to have read Jane Eyre to enjoy this book. For those who have read the classic, there are references that will hold deeper meaning. But it won't hinder enjoyment of the story for those who are unfamiliar with Jane Eyre.

Lyndsay Faye also wrote Dust and Shadow, and the Timothy Wilde trilogy.

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