Book Review: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Jane SteeleWhat’s it about?

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?

My thoughts

Reader, I have to admit to you that I was drawn to this book by its cover and at an early stage thought I’d made a mistake by choosing it.  Reader, it took me a good hundred pages for me to get totally engrossed in Jane’s story and I appreciate a lot of readers would have given up by then but I urge you to persevere because it really is a very good book.

Reader, I’ve never read Jane Eyre, and you don’t need to have to enjoy this ( I don’t think Jane Steele would approve of this at all!).  It isn’t a retelling, it just happens to be the protagonist’s favourite book but there are references to it and I suspect comparable events/themes.  I’m not usually a fan of messing around with originals as I read the re-working of Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope for The Austen Project. This novel had been dragged into a contemporary setting (kicking and screaming probably) and for me it just didn’t work, so I was really pleased that Jane Steele had been set in the Victorian era.

The reason for me addressing you Reader as I am is because this is how Jane tells her story. She’s takes her Reader into her confidence and tells us her innermost thoughts…. I really liked this, it almost felt a little naughty!  And, do you know what? I can’t even say I was horrified by the murders and that she deserved to be punished because she has this way of making you think it’s ok…it was deserved so lets turn a blind eye.

Overall, if you like books set in the Victorian era, boarding schools, mysteries and murder then I think you’ll like this and I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks to the publishers, Headline, for the ARC.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

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