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review 2017-06-12 19:56
Jane Steele / Lyndsey Faye
Jane Steele - Lyndsay Faye

Reader, I murdered him.

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?

 

Reader, we were amused.

Jane Eyre is one of my favourite classics. It seems to appeal to a wide range of people and it also seems to inspire a number of authors. I’ve read Wide Sargasso Sea, The Lost Child, and Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters and enjoyed all of them. But Jane Steele was the most fun of them all.

Imagine if you will a young woman in similar circumstances as Jane Eyre, with a copy of the book in her hand, as she murders her way out of her problems. In this version, Jane gets rid of the nasty aunt, the abusive cousin, the skeezy schoolmaster, the violent landlord and still finds the Englishman-with-secrets of her dreams.

My second encounter with Lyndsay Faye and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I would also recommend Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson, also set in Victorian London, a place & time that Faye seems to have great feeling for.

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text 2017-05-23 21:09
The Next Stack of Library Books
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer
Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire - Carol Dyhouse
Jane Steele - Lyndsay Faye
New Boy (Hogarth Shakespeare) - Tracy Chevalier
Murder at the Vicarage - Agatha Christie
Player Piano - Kurt Vonnegut
The Palace - Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

After a four day weekend, it's back to the salt mines today.  But these beauties are waiting for me to come home to them!

 

Have a good week, everyone.

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url 2017-01-27 22:10
Giveaway -- Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (follow link)

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review 2016-10-25 11:35
Dark & Intense Gothic Historical Novel
Jane Steele - Lyndsay Faye

Jane Steele was a darkly intense historical novel openly fashioned after Charlotte Bronte’s classic, Jane Eyre. Written in a manner befitting the mid-1800s, this may not have been a quick read but it was quite a gripping tale, nonetheless.

‘Killing for love is one of the most tangled acts you can commit, reader, in an already twisted world.’

Shocking in her blatantly honest narrative, our protagonist, Jane, was definitely memorable. I honestly found myself empathizing with her at times while also being repulsed by some of the decisions she feared she was forced to make. Like I said, this was a very dark, very heavy story filled with the difficulties of being a female who holds no title or prospects in London in the 1800s. That’s not to say that there weren’t moments of tenderness, love and adoration, or even compassion. There certainly were such wonderful moments. But the tone, just like Jane Eyre, was somber.

 

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review 2016-06-11 18:00
Jane Steele
Jane Steele - Lyndsay Faye

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

I have a weak spot both for retellings and for “Jane Eyre”, so no wonder I'd request this novel. And it turned out to be fairly interesting, although it's more “inspired by” than an actual “retelling”, and at times my attention waned a little—not sure if it's because of the book or just me being myself, that is, with the attention span of a dead amoeba. Also, I don't why, I had forgotten that the novel was set in the 19th century, and was surprised at first that it wasn't set in some contemporary UK. Dead amoeba, I tell you.

Jane Steele, who incidentally is an avid re-reader of the original “Jane Eyre” story, is, like her heroine, an orphan surrounded with a hostile family that mocks her at best and generally despises her. Her mother being an artist and a laudanum-addict doesn't exactly help. However, unlike Jane Eyre, Miss Steele early enough takes matters into her own hands by despatching those who are in her way. These aren't just random murders committed by a psychopath, though, and her victims aren't exactly goody-two-shoes. Jane is actually trying to protect the people she really loves, not obeying some dark unexplained instincts. And so this brings quite a few questions about whether killing might be seen as “justified” in some cases, or not? After all, so many people kill others in wars, and it's seen as “justified” and not “murder” because “it's for your country”... so why wouldn't “it's for love” be good enough a reason either?

And there you have it. There are killings in this novel, yet they come second to complex relationships among very different people. Thornfield and his Sikh family. The girls at Lowan School, united in misery through a perverse net of betrayal and friendships disguised as hate (unless it's the contrary?). Jane and her cousin who could so very well end up raping her. Jane and her mother, and these two and Aunt Patience, because there must be a reason for the latter to despise them so much.

There were a few funny moments, especially when the inspector was concerned—well, I did find them funny, especially with Jane constantly trying to escape him. And I also liked the way assault/rape was handled, as it turns out not so many characters in there blame the lady, and do think instead that, yes, she's not the one at fault at all.

To be honest, I preferred the first part of the novel, with Jane's years at school with the other girls. The plot in the second part was nice, but... the pacing and the setting in general were less thrilling (which is too bad, for Sardar and the others provided characters and a setting that screamed “badass”)... not to mention that, in spite of the inclusion of a large cast of Sikh people, in the end what could have broken the typical colonialist/jingoist mould of many Victorian-era stories just didn't do that. (It's still about white people finding happiness, and the non-white ones kind of get the shaft.)

As for the romance, of course it was meant to mirror the one in “Jane Eyre”, in a fashion, however I never really felt any chemistry between Jane and Charles: it felt more as if they were destined to end up together because Brontë's characters did, and not because of their traits as people.

Conclusion: I really liked the beginning, so I'm still giving this book 3 stars. The second half and ending didn't do much for me, though.

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