Title: Jane Steele
Author: Lyndsey Faye
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: March 22, 2016
Number of Pages: 432
How I Got It: direct from publisher
Reader, I murdered him.
Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked - but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors. A fugitive navigating London's underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate's true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household's strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him - body, soul and secrets - and what if he discovers her murderous past?
Pitched as a gothic retelling of Jane Eyre, I was intrigued. Not that I especially love Jane Eyre or retellings but I do love strong female protagonists and I was hoping Jane Steele wouldn't let me down...and she did not! At the story's opening, Jane is told by her mother that she is the true heir to Highgate House, even though they live in a cottage behind the manor. Upon her mother's death, Jane's aunt arranges for the headmaster of a boarding school to come take Jane away. Physically fleeing the headmaster and the arrangement, Jane finds herself in the woods but not alone. Her "cousin" attacks her, Jane fights back, and he is killed. In shock from committing murder and mourning her mother, Jane agrees to attend the boarding school in hopes of being a better person. Unfortunately, the boarding school is not simply strict, it is closer to a prison where girls are starved and abused by the deviant headmaster. This all happens within the first 100 pages and the pace only accelerates with more of Jane's (mis)adventures. I do not want to give a full summary of the book, but it must be said that Jane does not stand for mistreatment and can most certainly hold her own. I would recommend this book to anyone who, like me, loves a strong female character, especially in historical fiction. It is not even necessary to have read Jane Eyre. While the story and Jane Eyre are referenced by Jane Steele, a reader would not miss out if they have not read the book which this novel is based on.
***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***