Earlier this week, we discussed the latest film adaptation of the classic novel, Jane Eyre. But Jane has been making some other appearances as of late, including in the new YA book 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.
Review: When I saw this novel in the bookstore, I knew I HAD to get it. Bronte’s Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels of all time (right alongside Wuthering Heights, Tess of the Dubervilles, and Frankenstien…I have a thing for 19th century Brit Lit). Modern re-tellings of classic novels have the possibility of enticing readers unfamiliar with the classics into a world they may have felt uncomfortable entering.
But there’s also a danger when it comes to re-telling a classic story – can the novel’s themes translate into something modern readers can relate to? This is one of the problems with Lindner’s novel, though can’t really say it’s her fault. To be honest, Jane didn’t read like a YA novel. With a protagonist whose 19, and a college student to boot, the novel read a little too old/mature to fall into the YA genre.
There are other problematic themes that arise while reading the novel. Following the classic tale, Jane falls in love and agrees to marry Nico. Modern readers might be a little turned off by this sudden agreement; it’s just not common in today’s world. I’ve always been a believer in find yourself, get an education, and find a career you love before you settle down.
I understand why these things needed to happen within the story (it IS a re-telling), but it didn’t make it any easier to take in. I often found myself pulled from the story, marking differences between Victorian England and today.
That being said, I really enjoyed Lindner’s writing. While bits of the story seemed a little too similar to the classic novel by Bronte, Lindner’s protagonist had a great sense of voice, and I enjoyed the wild Nico.
Do I think fans of Bronte’s classic will like the story? Sure. I know it made me run to my bookshelf to reread the classic tale, but audiences unfamiliar with the work might find it a little difficult to believe. I am looking forward to reading whatever Lindner writes next. I just feel when re-telling a story(I’m looking at you Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), it’s really tough to make the story new and fresh.