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Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell

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This is the first version of Tarzan written by a female and authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. It wasn’t quite what I was expected. There was a lot of literary license used to make a semi-original story and so there are a lot of changes from the original Tarzan story. Tarzan is raised by the Managi, a missing link species in human evolution rather than by gorillas. He’s also taken up when he’s four years old not one. Names were mixed around, new human tribes living nearby, hidden pyramids and cities in the jungles of Gabon, etc. I didn’t mind most of the changes in the end, and some of them did make some sense, but some of them caught me off guard and I never did fully embrace them. It’s an interesting story and I did appreciate the perspective being from Jane. I think I would recommend it to any Tarzan fan with a warning not to go into it with too many preconceptions about what is going to happen. ( )
  Kassilem | Oct 12, 2014 |
Jane is the seventh book I've read by Robin Maxwell, who enjoys writing fictional accounts of the strong and sometimes forgotten or overlooked women of history.

I'm sure most readers will have a basic understanding of the Tarzan story: English child grows up in the wilds of Africa to become Tarzan of the Apes, as told to us by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912. Ashamedly, I haven't read this classic, probably put off by the comics and cartoon spin offs I came across as a kid. I felt safe in the hands of Robin Maxwell though, and so it was that I embarked on the story of Jane - The Woman Who Loved Tarzan.

Jane Porter is a budding paleoanthropologist and the only female enrolled in the Cambridge University medical program. Her father is a scientist and explorer and together with a guide, they put together an expedition and head to Africa in pursuit of fossilised remains of the missing link species.

I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected depth to the story, although it has to be said that the first third of the book - concerned with planning the expedition to Africa - was slow going compared to the excitement of the story when Jane reaches Africa. My favourite parts were when Jane and Tarzan were learning to communicate with each other.

Jane is intelligent, capable and a woman ahead of her time, and far more than just Tarzan's love interest. Maxwell's writing shows a deep respect for the original work and in fact Jane has been endorsed by the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate.

The ending of Jane cleverly makes reference and fits in with the original Tarzan of the Apes, inspiring most readers to pick up the classic and find out more. ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Sep 26, 2014 |
For an reader of adventure stories, some of the most stirring words are perhaps, “Me, Tarzan. You, Jane”. The story of the ape-man who was an English lord, and his mate, Jane, a young woman on safari is one that I have always been a huge fan of. From comic books to movies, the Tarzan legend has always been a favorite. Now, Robin Maxwell has written, Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan, telling the myth from the female point of view. I found this a great story, a thrilling adventure that is rooted firmly by the author’s research into both the setting and the history of the area.

The release of this book was timed for the centennial year of Edgar Rice Burroughs classic tale, and has the approval of the author’s estate. Her use of the original author as a character in her story, made for a cohesive and intriguing plot line. The ending of this book is also a homage to the original “pulp fiction” aspect of Tarzan. I have a feeling that Edgar would approve.

The only petty criticism I can offer is that the book had a slow start, perhaps a little too much time was spent in giving us Jane’s background and showing her to be a modern woman in a era that is on the brink of huge change. Once the book had launched the Parkers on the expedition, the storyline picked up and the action was pretty much non-stop.

For me Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan was a perfect blend of an electrifying adventure with a spellbinding love story, a winning combination. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Jul 12, 2013 |
I read all the Tarzan books decades ago and he was one of my favorite characters although very different from the movie versions. However some people would have trouble with the originals because of some of the attitudes expressed in the books. After all, Burroughs began this series before WWI and he was tailoring his tales to the expectations of the audience for pulp adventure stories.

Robin Maxwell, in this duly authorized story, has retold the initial story from Jane's perspective. She has a chance meeting with the struggling writer Ed Burroughs and decides to tell him her story. The beginning is in Cambridge, England in 1905 where Professor Porter has arranged for his daughter to attend classes at the University although women can't receive degrees. Jane also assists her father in his home laboratory. The opportunity arises for the pair to go on an expedition to Africa to search for evidence of Darwin's "missing link". Once there various problems lead her into Tarzan's orbit and they do come to care for one another.

This version is very interesting and I enjoyed it a great deal. One of the best things about Maxwell's retelling is that she made some of the elements of Tarzan's origin more believable for today's audience and Jane is in no way a clinging vine.
  hailelib | Jun 30, 2013 |
When I first heard about this book, I was really excited. It seemed unique and original. I read several reviews, all of which had different opinions, usually to one extreme or the other. After reading this, I can see where both sides may come from, but I really, really enjoyed this book.
For full disclosure, understand that I have never read the original Tarzan. The only Tarzan I know well is Disney's version. I know several reviewers have hated this book because they didn't feel it was accurate to the original story line. I can't say if it is or not, so I read this as a general, un-knowledgeable reader who was just looking for a good story.
With that aside, I really loved this book. Jane Porter is a woman who wants more for herself than what society and her mother say she needs, aka a good husband and a quiet, demure attitude. Jane doesn't want this. Her heart longs for adventure, education, and discoveries. She longs for a life where she is seen as an equal to a man, and she refuses to marry anyone who would not see her as an equal. When a dashing exploring, Ral Conrath, invites her and her father on a mission to find the 'missing link', she is overjoyed. Little does she know what this African jungle has in store for her.
Jane is an excellent protagonist. Being a scientist, she has great observation skills, so the jungles and forests are described beautifully. It isn't everyday that a writer can make really gross things (in my opinion) like cadavers and blood thirsty battles (neither of which are dominant, but both have their parts) sound fascinating and natural.
My favorite part of this book was the development of the characters and their relationship. Jane, being Jane, didn't just fall in love with the first 'savage' man she saw. She takes time to get to know him, and even then, her level head never goes to far away. Their love is not a 'love at first kind' type. Though their situation is far from normal, the way they fall in love over time is shown in a beautiful and universal way. They don't let the situation take control of how they feel. You get to see Tarzan as more than his 'ape-man' label. You get to see the true humanity in him, the traits that the most civilized man has long forgotten, but is found through this 'simple' man. You see that it wasn't just his cave-man-ness nor her being the first white female of his age that he has ever seen that made their love possible. It was how their personalities, their hearts, really complimented each other in a way that only the best couples have.
Told with a strong voice and an intense plot, Jane is a wonderful book for people who want a good story and want to find out what Jane thought about all this. ( )
1 vote SamanthaKR | Jun 15, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765333589, Hardcover)

Cambridge, England, 1905. Jane Porter is hardly a typical woman of her time. The only female student in Cambridge University’s medical program, she is far more comfortable in a lab coat dissecting corpses than she is in a corset and gown sipping afternoon tea. A budding paleoanthropologist, Jane dreams of traveling the globe in search of fossils that will prove the evolutionary theories of her scientific hero, Charles Darwin.

When dashing American explorer Ral Conrath invites Jane and her father to join an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Africa is every bit as exotic and fascinating as she has always imagined, but Jane quickly learns that the lush jungle is full of secrets—and so is Ral Conrath. When danger strikes, Jane finds her hero, the key to humanity’s past, and an all-consuming love in one extraordinary man: Tarzan of the Apes.

Jane is the first version of the Tarzan story written by a woman and authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. Its publication marks the centennial of the original Tarzan of the Apes.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Reimagines the classic story of Tarzan from Jane's perspective, following the only woman student in Cambridge's medical program as she travels the world to prove the theories of Darwin and finds love with an extraordinary man in the jungles of West Africa.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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