Saturday, June 11, 2011
Jane by April Lindner
Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, an iconic rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer, and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is tested by a torturous secret from his past.
Part irresistible romance and part darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.
I had mixed feelings about this book. As you'll remember from my earlier review, I loved Jane Eyre. That's why I opted to read this book. I wanted to see how Lindner would go about updating the story and giving it her own little twist.
For those familiar with Jane Eyre, references to it are easy to spot, even outside of the plot. Some things however did not translate as well as others. In Jane Eyre, with Jane first encounters Mr. Rochester, the reader can understand why she doesn't know who he is from sight. She's never met the man and has seen no pictures. In Jane, Jane's first meeting with Rathburn is...confusing. Prior to her starting the job, the book goes into great detail about Jane going online and researching him. Her inability to know who he is makes zero sense and there's absolutely no adequate explanation given.
I also found some of the renaming of characters to be a little...lame. To begin with, you don't even really need to keep the names similar to their original counterparts. Those who've read Jane Eyre can make the connection on their own and those who haven't don't need to know. While the occasional name similarities were a nice nod to the Jane Eyre fans, naming Rathburn's dog Copilot was beyond stupid, in my opinion.
I was really hoping Rathburn's big secret wasn't going to be exactly as it was in Jane Eyre and was marginally disappointed when that turned out to not be the case. It would have in my opinion made the story just that much better. I don't know what it should have been changed to, but it would have been nice for the big twist to have been another "Oh my god" moment.
Like I said before, I started reading this book because of my enjoyment of Jane Eyre. As I read it though, something occurred to me. Is it really fair that an author can piggyback on someone else's work...and especially for their debut novel. I realize that writing a novel isn't easy, but I would imagine that having the entire plot handed to you and only needing to update a few key points makes it significantly easier. While the idea is good in theory, I can't help but feel that retelling someone else's book is just short of cheating.
Alright. Enough about what I didn't like. On to what I did like.
I found myself able to relate to Jane a lot easier than I did, while reading Jane Eyre. I think putting her in the modern world and placing her in situations more familiar to myself, I could see more of myself in her. I found myself feeling that I was/am Jane. I really liked that.
I also found the love story between Jane and Rathburn to be easier to relate to, for pretty much the same reasons. I can't understand the world Jane Eyre occurs in, but the setting of Jane I could completely get. It made the love story all the more enchanting.
Bottom line...read it, I guess? If you like Jane Eyre, I think you might enjoy seeing how Lindner put a new spin on it. If you haven't read Jane Eyre, I think this book could hook you enough to get you to read the original piece.