Jane: Anything but plain!

Through good luck and coincidence I got onto a mailing list to receive advance copies of YA books once a month. I was more than a little skeptical when Jane arrived on my doorstep last week. A modern retelling of Jane Eyre? With the Mr. Rochester character named Nico Rathburn? As a good friend and I joked, Charlotte Bronte must be spinning in her grave!

Well, dear readers, I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong, and this time I was wrong. Very wrong. I picked up Jane last night determined to give it a try and to my surprise it was wonderful. Really, really wonderful. Despite all the other things I have to do, and all the other books I have to read, I finished Jane in less than 24 hours.

After losing her parents, Jane can no longer afford to go to college. Her siblings aren’t exactly the helpful or loving type, so she decides she needs a job. She becomes a nanny to rock star Nico Rathburn’s daughter and is whisked into the wild world of the rich and famous. You can see where this is going.If you’ve read Jane Eyre or skimmed over the Cliff Notes before a test, you know what happens next. If you haven’t, stop reading this now! Shame on you! You should read Jane Eyre before reading modern adaptations of it! Continuing on… Mr. Rathburn falls for his serious nanny, but a dark secret in his past threatens to keep them apart (ahem, crazy wife in the attic, ahem).

It isn’t the story that captivated me. It was the writing, and Lindner’s artful creation of a modern Jane. Jane is such a strong character, which is always my favorite thing to find in any book. She paints, listens to classical music, speaks her mind and sticks to her convictions.  I really had a hard time putting the book down this morning to go to work. There’s something about it that sticks with you and makes you want more.

Now, I haven’t reread Jane Eyre in quite a few years, so I won’t get into comparisons and arguments about how the original is better. Does that really matter? I think it’s better to take them as two completely separate works. Compare it to the original and of course you won’t like it, but take my advice and go in with a fresh state of mind and it will win your heart.

Jane will be out in hardcover in October. I highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for an entertaining read.


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