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Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan
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Jane Was Here (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Sarah Kernochan

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Member:enaid
Title:Jane Was Here
Authors:Sarah Kernochan
Info:Grey Swan Press (2011), Hardcover, 330 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan (2011)

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A HAUNTING FATE

One of the most talked about books of the late seventies was “Audrey Rose” by Frank De Felitta. A frightening tale of reincarnation, it not only sparked a movie adaption but also began an era of passionate discussion on reincarnation.
For years after, I devoured books on reincarnation finding convincing supporting anecdotal evidence. Even the actress Shirley MacLaine is adamant she has lived multiple lives—one, famously, as a lover of ancient emperor Charlemagne.
So when I first discovered Sarah Kernochan’s book, ‘Jane Was Here’, there was an immediate sense of Déjà vu. All the memories of my pleasure and wonder when reading “Audrey Rose” flooded back. A reincarnation novel, I thought—it’s been too long between past lives.
In the first part of “Jane Was Here” we meet the strange mannered twenty-three year old Jane, knocking at an ungodly hour, on the door of Brett, claiming it to be her house. Also mysteriously drawn to the town of Graynier, Brett is renting the home with his ten-year-old son, Colin. Brett immediately overwhelmed by strong feelings of love for Jane, aids her in a determined search to discover her past life identity. Colin, less enamoured than his Father and, guided by his superstitious friend Gita, believes Jane’s real purpose is evil.
Eighteenth century Jane Pettigrew tells her story, in part two, through a section of letters from herself to her lover. These letters are a window into the innocence of this Jane, and they build dramatically to the ultimate question of the story: what happened to this Jane?
Amongst the present day townsfolk is another group of characters, all with their own dark stories whose paths, in a karmic twist, will eventually intercept Jane’s. The revelation of these character’s roles in Jane’s previous life brings the reader a satisfying ending that they will not see coming.
Sarah Kernochan is an Oscar winning screenwriter, and there is a spellbinding cinematic mood to this story. You will close this book but find days later that the idea has seeped into your consciousness. Kernochan’s poetic vision of reincarnation and fate will truly haunt you.

Visit http://anadventureinreading.blogspot.com.au/ for more reviews & author interviews.

( )
  SusanMayWriter | Oct 1, 2013 |
Wow, this book really pulled me in. It was a dark, eerie story about reincarnation and karma punishing the sins of past lives. A mysterious young woman calling herself Jane wanders into the town of Graynier. No one knows who she is, and she doesn't seem to know either. Jane shows up at the house that Brett Sampson is renting for the summer, telling him it used to be her home. She's searching for clues to her past in hopes of discovering her true identity. Brett feels an unexplainable connection to this strange woman, and he agrees to let her stay with him. After Jane arrives, bad things start happening to some of the townspeople. Is Jane the cause of the trouble, or is there another outside force with an agenda of its own?

This is the second book I've read this year where I didn't like any of the main characters, but I really enjoyed the story. I don't think the reader was meant to like them. Their foul personalities and shameful behavior were integral parts of the book. I was engrossed in the story trying to figure out how everyone was connected to Jane. {I can't go into more detail because I don't want to risk giving away spoilers!}

Jane's tale is not a pretty one, but it's one that kept me turning the pages late into the night. The author is also a screen writer, and you can see that in the vivid descriptions of places and events. There were parts that were spooky and parts that were pretty gruesome. JANE WAS HERE is a suspenseful read that fans of dark thrillers would enjoy. I give it 4 stars! ( )
  bookofsecrets | Dec 12, 2012 |
Book Details:
Title: Jane Was Here
Author: Sarah Kernochan
Published: 2011 by Grey Swan Press
ISBN: 978-9800377-2-2
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 296
Rating: 4 of 5
Read in: 7 days

My Review:
I received my copy of this book through Goodreads' First Reads program. While it took me a bit to get into the story, in definitely will not let the reader soon forget it. A very intriguing set of characters and a multi-dimensional plot will eventually win over any fan of mystery or historical fiction.

To be honest, I hated most of the characters, but I think (I hope!) this is what the author was going for. Every character is actively portrayed as heartless and selfish. Only when Jane comes to town does any real emotion show among the characters, though only towards Jane. It's as if Jane IS the very heart of Graynier. Also, all of her present-day characters are horribly corrupt and crude, and most of the 19th century characters possess unfavorable traits. Marly Walczak, for instance, is the "town whore" and mother to an illegitimate daughter quickly following her mother's example. Marly also happens to be the reincarnation of Graynier's founder, taking on symptoms of his suffering and death from tuberculosis during her own suffering with cancer, suicide attempt, and eventual death in a fire. Whores, a drunk, a thief, a drug dealer, a man who feels no love for his child, a runaway, out-of-control children- present-day Graynier has them all. As well it seems it should given it's dark past. Many characters seem to take on habits and characteristics of their earlier counterparts. Gita Poonchwalla is considered a kleptomaniac, stashing stolen items under her bed. In her previous life as Jane's sister Rebecca, habitually stole money from her father. Both meet their fate at the bottom of Pease Pond.

The story line is very inventive. Strange and unfortunate things begin happening in the small Massachusetts town of Graynier upon the arrival of a young woman who speaks and acts as if she has jumped straight out of the 1800s. And indeed, she kind of has. She seems to be the missing link that kept the old souls calm and stirred them up upon her arrival. "Jane" volunteers no information about herself as she walks right into the home Brett Sampson is renting while spending the summer with his estranged son. She simply makes herself at home, demanding that this was her home two centuries before. She has a strange pull on Brett and so begins the quest to uncover the truth about the town's dark, horrifying past, and the inhabitants whose souls seem forever bound to this cursed place. The plot is very involved and deep, and Kernochan leaves plenty of hints and clues as to the true identities of the characters, but doesn't always come out and say it, giving the reader the satisfaction of independently putting a few pieces of the puzzle together.

I really enjoyed the format Kernochan uses to develop her story. Divided into three parts, each part focuses on one dimension of the overall plot. Part one introduces the present-day characters and lets the reader view their lives and problems already existing before "Jane" shows up in the small town of Graynier, Massachusetts. Part two is a collection of letters Jane writes to the man she loves, Lysander Trane, in the early days of America. It introduces and follows the characters living in Graynier during the mid-1800s. Finally, the third part drives home the relationships between the 1800s residents and their reincarnated selves driven back together in Graynier to relive the tragedies of their previous lives. Part three takes what feels like two completely unrelated story lines and seamlessly combines them together. The only change I would have liked to see in the format would be dates on the letters in part two to better track progression of time.

I think the town's historian Elsa Graynier sums up the entire premise of the book toward the very end when she says: "When you get old you know that everything comes and goes and then comes along again." While a little slow-moving at the beginning for my taste, I promise the read is well worth it! Very few other books have left me stunned clear to the conclusion. I give Jane Was Here four out of five stars for inventiveness and story-telling ability. Not many novels are written in present tense, so the author is to be commended for shaking up the literary community with a little variety in writing style. I wouldn't say the book was life-changing for me but it is, without a doubt, one of a kind. ( )
  StephaniePetty | Aug 4, 2011 |
Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan is an intriguing story from beginning to end. It is a mysterious and anomalous story about Jane. Jane is a bit of a mystery. She shows up one night at the house that Brett Sampson has rented claiming to have lived there. Jane doesn't know how she knows this, she just does. Brett is strangely drawn to Jane and he makes it his mission to help her unravel her cryptic past.
The story line in this novel is strange but good. I found myself wrapped up in the story not able to put this book down. I was just as eager as Jane to find out all the mysteries that surrounded her. I also enjoyed the historical elements of this novel as well as the themes such as forgiveness, karma and reincarnation.
The characters in Jane Was Here are also very interesting. They are a diverse group of people that are drawn together through past actions. Some of the characters are very rough, abrasive and despicable . There are some pretty heavy elements in this story such as rape and murder as well.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Sarah Kernochan presents the story in such a way that it's hard to put down. It's very mysterious and arresting. There are some sensitive subject matters in this novel so I wouldn't recommend this book to young readers. However if you enjoy an intriguing story I would recommend this book to you. I enjoyed the enigma that is Jane. ( )
  mt256 | Jul 27, 2011 |
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Book description
A mysterious young woman called Jane appears in a small New England town. She claims a fragmentary memory of growing up in this place, yet she has never been here before in her life. Searching for an explanation, she arrives at the unthinkable: that she is somehow connected to a beautiful girl who disappeared from the town in 1853. Is she recalling a past life? Jane becomes convinced of it. As she presses onward to find out what happened in this town over 150 years ago, strange and alarming things begin happening to some of the town's inhabitants. A thunderhead of karmic justice gathers over the village as Jane's memories reawaken piece by piece. They carry her back in time to a long-buried secret, while the townspeople hurtle forward to a horrific event when past and present fatally collide.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0980037727, Hardcover)

A mysterious young woman called Jane appears in a small New England town. She claims a fragmentary memory of growing up in this place, yet she has never been here before in her life. Searching for an explanation, she arrives at the unthinkable: that she is somehow connected to a beautiful girl who disappeared from the town in 1853. Is she recalling a past life? Jane becomes convinced of it. As she presses onward to find out what happened in this town over 150 years ago, strange and alarming things begin happening to some of the town's inhabitants. A thunderhead of karmic justice gathers over the village as Jane's memories reawaken piece by piece. They carry her back in time to a long-buried secret, while the townspeople hurtle forward to a horrific event when past and present fatally collide.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:52 -0400)

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(summary from another edition)

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