I recently read a seriously devastating YA book. It's a modern retelling of Bronte's Jane Eyre, a novel I've read a few times and always enjoyed. It was never one of my favourites, like Austen's Pride and Prejudice but Lindner's Jane was utterly heart wrenching.
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published October 11th 2010
But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?
An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.
This novel made me re-think my appreciation of Jane Eyre. I think I need to re-read the classic now that I've read Jane. I think I'll start off my review by sharing my initial reactions as I was this novel, luckily documented on Goodreads thanks to their progress tracking widget.
At 18% read I wrote: So far I'm loving this. It's traditionally yet modernly Gothic.
At 22% read I quoted from the novel: " 'If I bring you to the top of that hill there'--he pointed--'will you spin around and start singing that the hills are alive with the sound of music?' "
At 56% read I wrote: Bedroom scene in the middle of a lightening storm. That is soo romantic. And hot.
At 57% read I quoted: " 'And you'll always love me? Imperfect as I am?' 'I'll always love you,' I told him, and meant it with all my heart."
And I added on: So, um, I'm officially in love with Nico.
At 63% read I wrote: I'm afraid to read more.
At 65% read I quoted: "I lay there...and let him unmake me into a thousand glittering pieces."
And I added on: Does anyone wonder, with scenes like that, words like that, why I am so undone by this book? Would that I were Jane!
At 70% read I wrote: I can't do this. She's left Nico, my Nico. Stupid, brave, wonderful Jane. I have to stop reading, this is too hard. Funny, the original novel didn't affect me as much.
Please note, at this point, I stopped reading. I literally got up and started pacing around my apartment like a nutter. It was days before I could pick up the novel again because this is the point in Jane Eyre I hated the most; when she was away from Thornfield Park. And Lindner did such a great job in following the plot line with a modern twist, that I was certain I'd hate the next bit just as much. I didn't, but it made me feel awful. I felt so awful for Nico, knowing how much he was suffering, and how much Jane loved him and yet had to leave, how much it cost them both. It crushed me to see Jane so confused, so devastated by her loss of Nico, that she nearly deludes herself into a life with River.
I was so glad when Jane went to Nico at last, and began help him put the pieces of his life back together, a life of which she was an integral piece.
So, if you've ever thought of reading Jane, or loved Jane Eyre, it's time to read this book. Lindner brings the story alive in a way that is refreshing but still every bit as passionate as the original story. In fact, the modern take allowed me to connect to Jane in a way I never have before. Her passion, her insecurities, her strength shone brighter for me. And Nico Rathburn, the broody rock superstar who is thoughtful and intelligent and just as passionate, just as lost as Jane in many ways, was a stroke of sheer brilliance. I loved to love him. I loved seeing how human he was, seeing how much he loved Jane. I just loved this character.
Jane is going on my favourites shelf.
5 glittering stars