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Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Review: Jane by April Lindner

Reading level: Young Adult 
Hardcover: 384 pages 
Publisher: Poppy (October 11, 2010)
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

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, a world-famous 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 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.

Book Opening:

The chairs in the lobby of Discriminating Nannies, Inc., were less comfortable than they looked. I sat stiffly in the one nearest the exit where I could watch the competiton come and go, feeling like an imposter in my gray herringbone suit from Goodwill. 

Notable Scene:

"How could I sit so near him—his eyes burning with sadness, his shoulders slumped with the weight of his history—and not stroke his hair, not kiss his forehead, not hold him in my arms? Just sitting there, hands in my lap, not reaching out to him, was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life. "No. I don't think you're a monster."

"Then let me hold you. Let me kiss you." – Page 258

The passion, the love, the heartache. It's all there. In JANE, April Lindner bridges the gap between classical Victorian England and modern day life with a completely revamped, rich plot full of love, shattered dreams and second chances.  April Lindner took the storyline from a beloved classic and stayed true to the integrity of the original plot, while somehow creating something fresh and new in the process. Much like Nico Rathburn's explosive guitar riffs, JANE rocked my world.

Jane Moore, the bright college dropout without a dime to her name was the perfect contrast to rock-and-roll god Nico Rathburn. Having Mr. Rochester be a smoking hot, tortured rock star this time around added a whole new level of heightened sexual tension to the story. With my pulse racing, I could easily put myself in Jane's shoes and imagine what it was like to show up at Thornfield mansion.  This was the home of a man who nearly destroyed himself with excess and irresponsibility.  Jane was extremely poor, plain looking and never so much as had a boyfriend. But I loved that she wasn't celebrity struck—she was rational, intelligent and honest. I couldn't wait for these two people who couldn't have had less in common to collide with one another. And when they did, it was like fireworks. I loved watching the real person underneath Nico's celebrity shell reflected through Jane's eyes.  She saw him for what he really was—what he could be if only he believed in himself to do so. There was so much more to Nico than guitar sex god. I fell head-over-heels for Nico. He was a serious artist looking for something honest and real in his life. These two were absolutely perfect for one another. I really believe Nico needed Jane to save him just as much as she needed him to bring some happiness and love into her life. The way they connected and melded together was seamless. It electrified and moved me.

JANE EYRE is my all time favorite book and gothic masterpiece. It's a dark, brooding love story with writing that flows like a melody, ensnaring your senses and consuming your soul.  When I found out about JANE, I was a bit wary.  I needn't have worried. April Lindner definitely maintained the heart and soul of JANE EYRE, while somehow succeeding in making this retelling all her own. Do you need to be a JANE EYRE fanatic like me to enjoy this book? Absolutely not. This book is an entity all of its own; it's fresh and original.

It's entirely possible that my love for JANE was enhanced by my passion for the original. I can't say for sure, but I do know one thing. April Lindner captured Jane Eyre's voice to the letter. It was like both past and present became one. I hope that faithful readers of the classic will enjoy this retelling as much as I did. Perhaps April Lindner will also introduce a new generation of readers to Charlotte Bronte's classic novel as well.

I also have to say I loved this time around that Jane was a more mature "young adult". So often in YA, books never portray young women as college-bound. It was refreshing to get inside the head of a protagonist with a mature voice. I hope that this is a trend that begins to flourish within the Young Adult genre. It's a great way to mix things up and add variety. The difference in age between Jane and Nico wasn't an issue for me either. Those two are old souls and belonged together without a doubt.

After reading Jane, I was extremely satisfied and closed the book with a full heart. As my brain swirled with emotions I had no one to discuss with, I knew what I had to do. I pulled out my tattered old copy of Jane Eyre, and sat back to revisit my old, dear friend. 


April Lindner is an associate professor of English at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. Her poetry collection, Skin, received the Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry, and her poems have been featured in many anthologies and textbooks. She holds an MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a PhD in English from the University of Cincinnati. Jane is her debut novel.
Official Website


Melissa said...

Great review! I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.

I need to read Jane Eyre too. Never read it before but I have it on my kindle.

Kate said...

I should be getting my own copy of Jane real soon. I ordered it last week from Barnes & Noble but they're not shipping it until Bright Young Things is available since I pre-ordered it. Great review! I can't wait to read this one.

Melissa said...

I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this one! I'm dying to read it, as I love love love Jane Eyre. Brilliant review! :)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

You make me long to read this right this very minute. Awesome review!

Fantastic Book Review said...

Now I really want to read this! Great review Kim!

Bere said...

Oh goodness, brilliant review! I'm so super excited! I really cannot wait to get Jane. Definitely sounds wonderful. Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorites books. So I'm extremely excited to read Jane. I'm so very glad to hear you really enjoyed this one. Again, brilliant review. Thanks Kim! =)

Angiegirl said...

Brilliant! So glad it moved and electrified you. Did the same for me. I'm re-reading it right now. SUCH a book.

Mad Scientist said...

I seen this book the other day but I did not remember any notable reviews about this book so I decided against picking it up.

Great Review and I might have to pick this one up next time I hit the book store :)

Mad Scientist

Alyssa (Redhead Heroines) said...

Great review!! I also fell completely head over heels for this book!! Just reading your review right now makes me want to read it all over again, lol. :)
- Alyssa of Redhead Heroines
Book Review of "Jane" by April Lindner

Book Butterfly (Kim) said...

Alyssa- glad I made you want to read it again. Going to read yours now!