A reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer, from the author whose work The New York Times described as "riveting" and The Wall Street Journal called "thrilling".
"Reader, I murdered him."
A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre "last confessions" of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement. Her aunt has died, and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.
Burning to know whether she is in fact the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents - the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars; and the gracious Sikh butler, Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair's violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: Can she possess him - body, soul, and secrets - without revealing her own murderous past?
A satirical romance about identity, guilt, goodness, and the nature of lies by a writer who Matthew Pearl calls "superstar-caliber" and whose previous works Gillian Flynn declared "spectacular", Jane Steele is a brilliant and deeply absorbing book inspired by Charlotte Brontë's classic Jane Eyre.
©2016 Lyndsay Faye (P)2016 Penguin Audio
"JANE STEELE is an homage to Jane Eyre, yet infinitely better, since Jane Steele is no one’s victim."--Crimespree Magazine
Um, no, NOT better than Jane Eyre (though I will agree that Miss Steele is no victim). While I appreciate the author's efforts to come up with an entirely new spin on Bronte's classic, this is pretty much a crime/mystery novel--and those rarely interest me. So I will have to respectfully disagree with those who say that anyone who loved Jane Eyre will love Jane Steele. Faye uses the novel mainly to cull touch points: young Jane lives with a mean aunt and a revolting cousin; she is sent to a boarding school run by a depraved headmaster, and she crushes on a schoolmate (who doesn't die); she becomes the governess for Mr. Thornfield's charge, a young Indian girl, and falls in love with him. But Jane Steele's personality (aside from her independent streak) and circumstances couldn't differ more. A self-described murderess (her first murder was by way of accident), Jane does in several victims as revenge and another in self-defense; and her intention in joining Thornfield's household is to get back his home--the very house in which she spent her earliest, happiest years until her aunt took it over. In between school and her employment as a governess, Jane practices a number of other shady occupations.
I liked the black humor in the book, but, overall, the story just didn't interest me. Mr. Thornfield was born in the Punjab and has a history with the East India Company. I admit that I started to get lost in the deluge of battles and persons and stories related to India, and that left me somewhat confused as to just what is going on in the last third of the novel. I suspect that listening to it on audio was also not a great idea, especially since the reader goes very fast and there's no time to absorb names, connections, and events. All this probably affected my overall rating, but I'm just not interested enough in what I heard to want to give Jane Steele another go in print.
I have to say that I went back and forth before buying this book. Jane Eyre being one of my absolute favorite books. I was worried that a story so connected to it could potentially diminish my loving memory of the original. I'm happy to report that no such thing happened. This is a wonderfully inventive and compelling read! The Jane Eyre references only endeared me to it. I will most definitely be recommending Jane Steele to everyone I know!
Fine art photographer, retired English professor, dog mom to an adorable Maltese mix, long-time Californian, genealogist, what else?
I love, love, love this book. Even if you don't know Jane Eyre, it's still a rollicking good story. Jane Steele is a plucky heroine and her adventures are compelling. There are thrilling moments and laugh-aloud moments, and the narrator is nothing short of wonderful -- so many voices, so well done. Highly recommended.
I really disliked this attempt to re-imagine Jane Eyre. The prose was over-blown, the characters unpleasant and unlikable, and the plot ( when it kicks in ) is confusing. However, the narration was good, the only thing that saves this awful book.
Life's good when I am listening to a great book.
"Jane Steele" is set in Victorian England with our heroine, Jane, narrating the story. Jane is orphaned at age 7 or 8 and the tale spins from there with Jane fighting to make a life for herself. This novel reads as a gothic tale with modern prose and historical accuracy. Our heroine eloquently details her adventures, her loyalties, and her dogged determination to fight for herself and for those she loves. The first two thirds of this novel had me spellbound as I love gothic adventures especially with female heroines. I would have given this story five stars but I found the last third of the novel dragged with details of Jane's fight to regain the home that was rightfully hers. Jane falls in love and the adventures become less prominent while at the same time the villains become less vile. Despite that observation, I would not have missed this novel. Lyndsay Faye is a brilliant author. The performance by Susie Riddell was flawless. I highly recommend this listen to adults and young adults and particularly to women.
Beautifully narrated, highly satisfying parallel story to Jane Eyre. Not quite, Jane as a serial killer, but more like a Jane with a killer instinct.
I love to read and I love listening to podcasts, or my Kindle. Figured I'd give Audible a shot.
And by that I mean I read it almost in one sitting. As an ardent Jane Eyre fan, Jane Steele is a good parallel. I think Bronte would appreciate Faye's effort.
This book is thoroughly engaging and wonderfully performed. I enjoyed it beginning to end. Jane Eyre is the favorite book of the protagonist but Jane Steele is her own person entirely.
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