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Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Jane Steele (original 2016; edition 2016)

by Lyndsay Faye (Author)

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Title:Jane Steele
Authors:Lyndsay Faye (Author)
Info:G.P. Putnam's Sons (2016), 432 pages
Collections:Your library

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Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (2016)


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I absolutely loved this homage to (one might say parody of) Jane Eyre. From the counterpoint names (air and steel) to the "Reader, I murdered him" line, which grabbed me by the curiosity, I was delighted and tore through 400 pages in record time. Calling Jane Steele a "serial killer" is very misleading; she is no psychopath. Nor is she a victim of anything but occasional bouts of self-doubt. She is an orphan whose circumstances often mirror Jane Eyre's misfortunes, but the outcomes are wildly different. She is in every way bolder and more resourceful than her namesake, and way more fun to read about. To begin, Jane falls under the care of her nasty Aunt Patience and is tormented by her nastier cousin Edwin, whose perverted advances lead her to give him a mighty shove, thereby beginning her career as a murdereress. The basic framework of the story follows Jane Eyre in many broad particulars, but the plot is full of marvelous variations, upside down elements (in JE there's something peculiar going on in the attic--in JS, one must not go into the basement;) and other surprises. If you've never read JE, fear not...JS is a cracking good read even if you make none of the connections at all, and Miss Steele herself points out a thing or two to the reader as she goes along, because Jane Eyre is her favorite book.
Review written in October 2016 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | May 8, 2017 |
JANE STEELE is not a typical retelling; sure it bares similarities with Jane Eyre; Jane Steele is an orphan, she ends up in a boarding school with a cruel schoolmaster and she works as a governess later on in life. What I like is that Jane Steele likes and identifies herself with Jane Eyre. She feels like they are kindred spirits. But unlike Jane Eyre who was called wicked, Jane Steele is fearful that she really is wicked. Because she has after all done wicked things...

  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
Loved every word of this retelling of Jane Eyre. Jane Steele, a murderess five times over, is fantastically drawn. If you appreciate Flavia, you might find much to admire about Jane Steele, too. Lots of nods to the original, some obvious, some less so, but less a faithful take and more a fresh twist on the classic. Dry humor and British wit sprinkled liberally within. ( )
  angiestahl | Apr 6, 2017 |
This is a rather enjoyable retelling of Jane Eyre, with a conflicted serial killer heroine who herself loves the novel. I loved the obvious and not so obvious references to Jane Eyre's plot and characters throughout, and thought Jane Steele herself a fairly interesting character.

However, my enthusiasm waned a little in the second half of the book with the British-in-the-Punjab stuff - I think it deflected a bit from Jane's own intriguing history and character development.

Still, this is worth a read if you're also a huge Jane Eyre fan and fancy something rip-roaring to speed through. ( )
  mooingzelda | Apr 2, 2017 |
Originally posted here.

Hmmm, I am not sure why I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. Jane Steele is an historical fiction inspired by Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, and so I was really excited to read this book.

The main protagonist, Jane Steele, loves Jane Eyre and has read it many times because she notices how similar their lives are. Both are unwanted orphans on their aunt's estate and both are sent to a terrible boarding school; and really that is where the similarities end as Jane Steele goes on to have a radically different plot from there. Jane Steele is a murderess and she is quite good at it too, she is certainly not meek or mild, and is very cunning. Despite some similarities, I found her to be quite different from Jane Eyre and I must admit that I wanted Jane Steele to be more of a straight retelling as I adored the original.

Despite that, I was really entertained for the first half of the book but when Jane becomes starts to work as a governess for Charles Thornfield, I just lost interest. Charles is no Mr. Rochester, that's for certain. I was bored stiff by the British politics relating to the Punjab and I just found that I didn't care. I think my main problem was that I desperately wanted Jane to be more twisted than she actually was and I wanted a darker, grittier plot. I wanted something reminiscent of villains such as Johnny Depp's character in Sweeney Todd, you know, that level of depravity and murder.

Anyway, there is no doubt this is a brilliantly crafted story and the writing is of excellent quality, I think it is purely down to my personal taste that I didn't like this book quite as much as I was hoping but I would definitely be interested in picking up the author's other books. ( )
  4everfanatical | Feb 27, 2017 |
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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)

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