Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Headline!
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?
Reader, I murdered him. With that one line I was ridiculously intrigued, how could I not be!? This was presented as a "gothic retelling" of Jane Eyre, but it's not really. Jane tells us the story as her autobiography and frequently mentions how she's read Jane Eyre, there's quotes from the book at the beginning of each chapter, but from what I remember of Jane Eyre...I couldn't see any links between Jane Steele and Jane Eyre.
I feel like the book was written with a kind of Bronte feel to it, and I enjoyed the writing style of the book. Jane was a complicated character for me, I felt for her in the beginning, don't get me wrong, the first murder was an accident and could arguably be self defense, and to be fair she is only killing bad guys who kind of have it coming....but like, as the book goes on she sounds more and more like a psycho. Like you can see her justification and understand it but she's not really on the empathy train with the rest of us, if you know what I mean!? It was hard for me because I wasn't sure if I should be rooting for her or not!
The writing is compelling and oddly fascinating, the story is very grim with an atmosphere full of despair. The whole thing with her aunt and cousin, the boarding school which was particularly grim, the events of London and so on. There's plenty of blood and murder, and I loved the relationship between Jane and her female friend and all the drama that went on in Janes life, it kept me hooked and kept me reading.
This didn't last, however, when Jane entered the governess stage of her life. Don't get me wrong, the romance was good, I liked how it developed gradually over time, and I liked that they got their happy ending. But the thing is, once the romance started to come in to it the pace slowed down, and I found myself losing interest. I thought the book ended well, I liked the ending, but it wasn't as climatic as I was expecting! I was expecting a lot more blood and murder, among other things, I think! So the first half is brilliant, the second just didn't keep it up!