Rummanah Aasi
  I read Jane Eyre in high school and mostly to appease my older sister who repeatedly told me that it was the best book she ever read. If you think I'm an avid reader, you wouldn't believe how much she reads. She was a Biology and English major in college. The girl can devour a 400 pages novel in the matter of hours. Next to her, I'm really not that remarkable. Anyway, I didn't connect much with Jane as a teen. I thought she was a bit distant, cold, and serious. I didn't understand her relationship with the famous Mr. Rochester. Actually I was always suspicious of Rochester. I just had a 'bad' feeling about him and I still do. This weekend I read Jane by April  Lindner and I really enjoyed it.

Description: Jane Moore is forced to drop out of Sarah Lawrence because she couldn't afford it, especially after the sudden death of her parents. She doesn't have much job experience besides baby sitting and seeking a nanny agency to get a job. Jane Moore is offered a nanny position at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Despite being practical and logical, Jane can't help but be drawn to her charismatic and brooding employer. Soon she finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. Of course her romance doesn't come with a price. There is a secret from Nico's past that he refuses to share. A secret that threatens their happiness and Jane's true self. Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?

Review:  I must say that I had three distinct thoughts when I came across Jane. One: It was nice to see one of the Bronte's sisters get a modern retelling instead of another Jane Austen novel. Don't get me wrong. I like Jane Austen, but how many times can you retell the same story over and over again? Two: How the heck do you modernize a book that is so rooted in Gothic, Victorian times? Three: Rochester as a rock star? This retelling could go either horribly, horribly wrong or it can be really good. Fortunately, Jane is the latter and quite entertaining. 
  It is no secret that Jane is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre. The main characters, the Gothic setting of Thornfield, the forbidden romance, a dash of a dark mystery, and its central themes from the original novel are retained in JaneLindner does a great job in making the characters approachable and likable. Jane is still resolute, strongly opinionated, but honest. She is also a teen who is insecure about her looks yet she admits that she can never be conventionally beautiful. Unlike most heroines in a romance novel, she refuses to cave in to her emotions (it's not that she doesn't acknowledge her feelings about Nico but her feelings don't color her decision) and does not abandon all of her beliefs when her romance is in jeopardy. As you can see, Jane is a teen who is wiser than her years even though she is 19 years old in the book. These are the characteristics that I admired and some how overlooked in the original Jane when I first read Jane Eyre a really long time ago. 
  Similarly, Nico Rathburn is much more accessible than the mysterious and aloof Rochester. The fact that he is a rock star suits him for several reasons. The celebrity status retains his high social status, but also gives him worldly experience. His evolution from a bad boy rocker into a man shows his growth and maturity (For some reason, I couldn't help but picture Bruce Springsteen as Nico). I can see why Jane likes Nico. He is arrogant yet charming and magnetic. He strives to become better and it shows. He has such a strong presence and you can't help but observe him. Although Nico shares similar flaws with Rochester, there is a clear distinction between the two by how each person handles his secret.
  There are some things that I found unsettling in Jane, but that is because I found them unsettling in the original book such as the huge age difference between Jane and Nico as well as Nico's secret. Readers who love Bronte's original work will probably enjoy this title. The modern spin of a rock star is actually really cool and brilliant. Those who have not been exposed to Jane Eyre, will love Jane for it's Gothic romance and will most likely pick up the original book after they have finished Jane. I actually think it helped me appreciate Bronte's work a bit more than I did as a teen. Overall, a really enjoyable and well done retelling of a classic novel.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language and allusions to sex in the book.

If you like this book try: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte or Villette by Charlotte Bronte or for something a bit contemporary about a rocker try Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
5 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I actually have never read Jane Eyre, we always had to read Pride and Prejudice in high school but not this one. I think it might be fun to read this one without having any knowledge of the original story and then go back and read Jane Eyre to see how the compare and contrast. Wonderful review Rummanah, I loved your thoughts on Jane, I enjoy a female lead who doesn't cave to her feelings.

  2. Thanks, Jenny! I think you'll really like this book. I hope you do pick it up. :)

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  4. Nat Says:

    I've had this one on my TBR list for a while now and now I'm really excited to read it. Thanks!!

  5. @Kelli: Can't wait to read your thoughts on the book. I think you'll enjoy it.

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