Jane Steele [review]

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye


Reader, I murdered him.

A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre.

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 Review]

I actually had mixed feelings about this book, which is surprising looking at the amazing reviews. I actually ended up enjoying it but found it took me ages to get into. I’m really not sure why – maybe it was the style of writing, maybe the narrative didn’t grip me as much as I thought it would, but it took me a good third of the book to get into it. I actually stopped and started it a few times too, something I rarely do with books!

However, once I’d got into the swing of the story and the language, reading more about the characters and learning more about the wonderful Jane, and noticing the various ways it’s based on and around Jane Eyre, a novel I am very fond of,  I found that this is actually a really skilful retelling of the classic story and one I ended up really enjoying!

Jane is a fun, fiesty character that has a real zest for life (sorry for awful cliched phrase) – she takes everything in her stride despite having had some tricky situations occur during her troubled and tough life! I loved the witty way she narrates her own life, as if it’s an autobiography, whilst taking the mickey out of the tropes of the gothic/ romance novel. Very witty! Plus there’s an element of murder thrown in there too which appeals to me…!

I’d recommend this particularly to those who have read (whether they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy) Jane Eyre, as the subtle (and not-so-subtle) nods to the genre are really fun to read!

[Rating: 3.5/5]

Many thanks to Headline books for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review


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