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Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Jane Steele (2016)

by Lyndsay Faye

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”We tell stories to strangers to ingratiate ourselves, stories to lovers to better adhere us skin to skin, stories in our heads to banish the demons. When we tell the truth, often we are callous; when we tell lies, often we are kind. Through it all, we tell stories, and we own an uncanny knack for the task.”

Jane Steele is a world class liar. She has lived her life disguising herself and making her sins disappear in order to present herself as someone not quite, well, what she really is. She is a devoted fan of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and uses quotes from the book in writing her own memoir. But she is no Jane Eyre.

In the mid 19th century, Jane (Steele) is living with her mother in a small cottage on the property belonging to her aunt, Highgate House. Her mother is barely functioning and as expected, dies leaving Jane in the care of the aunt who really doesn’t like her at all. But Jane has been told by her mother that Highgate House will belong to her when she comes of age as it was originally her father’s. The crux of the narrative is Jane’s desperate attempt to claim what is hers and she goes to great lengths to obtain it.

This is a rip roaring tale and Lyndsay Faye is just so good at Gothic novels. She has an uncanny ability to make you feel as if you’re right there in the midst of the action. Excellent character development and an incredible plot line that had me guessing almost until the very end all combined to make this such an enjoyable read that I can only highly recommend it to lovers of Gothic literature. Simply divine. ( )
3 vote brenzi | Oct 9, 2018 |
I think I would have liked this book more if it hadn’t referenced Jane Eyre so much, and if Jane Eyre wasn’t one of my favorite books. Jane Steele as a character is rather well done and she has the same pluck as Jane Eyre, which I appreciated. Jane comparing her life in the novel to Jane Eyre got a bit tedious and jarring. The story was rather good otherwise. ( )
  SadieRuin | Apr 26, 2018 |
Jane Steel redeems up to 500 inferior tributes to or derivatives of Jane Eyre. A delightful combination of elements of Jane Eyre and modern tough-but-tender adventuress heroine driven fiction, it feeds those of us who have been reading about ever spunkier girls and young women over the decades. We are brought back to Jane Eyre with a quote at the beginning of each chapter and sometimes the reflections on JE by our heroine current Jane who is subjected to and fights back against just enough brutality before she, like Sarah Carew, finds an oriental sourced refuge. I was relieved that Lyndsay Faye does not feel the need to devote many chapters to the school and London hardships our heroine endures, hitting just enough notes to let us fill in from copious prior perusal of mid-Victorian melodrama/romance. Once we reach the destination both expected and unexpected encounters combine in a very satisfactory manner to give our Jane her new improved life. ( )
  quondame | Apr 9, 2018 |
Jane Eyre is my all-time favorite book. When I heard about Jane Steele on a podcast, I was naïve & bought it without researching it. Not my usual style at all. I was completely open to a variation on the Bronte story. I knew Jane Steele was supposed to be a serial killer; I presumed it was a dark tale about murder.
I wish I knew Lyndsay Faye's version was farcical before I began reading. I could have saved myself a lot of eye rolling. Lyndsay Faye notes in the Afterward that it is a "satirical riff". A reader like me would have appreciated that detail beforehand. However, it will make for something light if you are recovering from a book hangover. ( )
  godmotherx5 | Apr 5, 2018 |
I love this book. Our heroine is a bloodthirsty savage. she's perfect. ( )
  kbartosh | Mar 27, 2018 |
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This book is humbly dedicated to Miss Eyre and Mr. Nickleby.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399169490, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 11 Oct 2015 09:01:30 -0400)

"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.""--

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