Review: Jane by April Lindner

JaneHow did I get it? Bought

Genre: YA, Romance, Retelling

Summary: 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.

My Thoughts

I really, really, really wanted to love Jane. I read Jane Eyre at the end of this past November and adored it, so I was really looking forward to this. But unfortunately, I was a little bit disappointed.

Mind you, I still enjoyed it. The author obviously knew the book well and she very rigidly stuck to the original, which I appreciate to an extent. Jane was a decent protagonist and I liked the spin on her background.

But there were definitely some things that didn’t work for me.

1.) Nico

First of all, Nico? Of all the names in the galaxy, Nico? Rathburn as a surname was fine, but whether or not Nico is fitting as a “rockstar name,” I just couldn’t see it. The name sounds fake, a teensy bit sleazy, and, in my opinion, ridiculous.

Nico’s characterization also didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t buy his personality at all, and he’s nothing at all like Rochester. It felt like Rochester’s words were simply shoved into his mouth; he has none of the passion, the rawness, the haunted edge. He’s older than Jane (30-ish, I think) but he still came off to me as very two-dimensional and with none of the jaded, gruff attitude of the original man. Rochester is NOT some “emo” artist with mood swings; I kept sticking the two side by side, picturing a broad, dark man in period clothing next to a skinny 20-year-old in black with his jeans around his knees, silver chains hanging off every appendage, jagged dyed-black hair, and thick eyeliner. And I couldn’t see it in the character.

2.) Marriage

Okay, this was really bizarre to me. Jane and Nico (God, it weirds me out every time I say his name) fall in love and are in front of a priest within 3 weeks. I’m sorry, what? Not only is it unrealistic, but Jane was very sheeplike about it. “Okay, he’s throwing marriage at me. Yeah, okay, I’ll do it, whatevs.” It really weakened her as a character for me. It felt like they’d barely had time to develop a relationship before they were whipping out rings and the L-word. But oh no, the absurdity of this whirlwind affair is totally normal apparently.

What bugged me the most was the fact that the more stretched-out timeline in the book was cut down to under a month, while Jane’s relationship with St. John is giving what adds up to about a year of development, and that was just for them to become more-than-friends and go to Haiti together, nevermind marriage.

Also, Nico is apparently offering to propose to Bianca/Blanche within a week or two of knowing her through a photoshoot, and this isn’t thought odd at all? Jane seems to think it’s perfectly normal for things like that to happen so quickly, which would explain why she’s so willing to marry a guy she doesn’t have much of a relationship with after like a month.

It all just felt very unbelievable to me and I couldn’t buy into it at all.

3.) Plot Problems

I’m really grateful to the author for doing her best to keep the plot as close to the original as possible, but in some ways that was a bit of a let-down. For one, some social situations in Jane Eyre just wouldn’t work in modern society. The issue of Jane having to leave because of her employer’s impending marriage isn’t the same problem now as it would’ve been. Originally, Jane had to leave because a new wife meant Adèle had to go away to boarding school; it would’ve been inappropriate otherwise. Obviously that would be sort of weird to basically say, “I’m the new wife, kick the stepkids out now” in today’s world, so the author chooses to say that Jane has to leave because Bianca “doesn’t like her”. And she’s really adamant about it. It felt like a very flimsy excuse to me and it also brought up the issue of Bianca’s character, which Nico fails to address.

The plot as a whole, while comfortably familiar, took very few risks and felt too much like the author was just plugging in solutions she’d come up with. Obviously I knew the original plot, so I was expecting to know the gist of it, but there were no surprises or unexpected twists that made it new and refreshing and exciting, which took some of the fun out of it for me.

In conclusion…

I did enjoy reading this, as a Jane Eyre fan, but it just didn’t work for me. Jane was the only person with any real depth, although Nico had a few moments, and it didn’t quite pull it off. Not to say that it’s a bad book, but I think it could’ve been better. I will say that I am still a fan of the idea of it, Rochester being a rockstar and Jane his nanny.

(Aside: I’m a terrible person for saying this, but I was very disappointed that Nico wasn’t blinded in the end. I loved that scene in the book; it was so bittersweet and romantic and I just wanted to hug Rochester, but instead Nico just has a messed-up hand that can be fixed with physical therapy. Laaame.)

Rating:

Three Stars

Recommend it?

Sure.

Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble | AmazonBook Depository

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Top Ten Books I Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, with a new Top Ten prompt every week. Check it out!


My Most Excellent Year

1. My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger

This. Book. Was. Awesome. Like, literal paperback perfection. Asdlfjkdfs.

2. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter (actually the entire Gallagher Girls series, which is made of awesome)

SOMEBODY GET ME MY PAPER BAG. This book was possibly my favorite out of the series because of the intensity and suspense of it all, and the book just sucked me in and spat me back out at the end blubbering and leaking feelings all over the place.

The Mad Scientist's Daughter

3. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

This was just beautiful written and made me cry and uuuuugh.

Weather Witch

4.  Weather Witch by Shannon Delaney

I NEED THE SEQUEL LIKE YESTERDAY PLEASE

Jane Eyre

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

This is now one of my all-time favorite classics. The love story and self-discovery are amazing.

Fuck It

6. F*ck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way by John C. Parkin

This really made me think and question everything and I loved that the author wasn’t afraid to make the reader uncomfortable.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower

7. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Beautiful, beautiful book that made me cry and laugh and go through every emotion under the sun.

Shattered Glass

8. Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander

Possibly one of my favorite LGBT romances. The main character is just so human and unique and complex, and the entire story is so fantastic asdfajksdlfj.

Queens Consort

9. Queens Consort: England’s Medieval Queens by Lisa Hilton

This book really got me into medieval history and introduced me to the realities of being a female monarch in medieval times.

Ash

10. Ash by Malinda Lo

Okay, so it wasn’t perfect, but Malinda is a FANTASTIC writer and it was just lovely to read. Also, Kaisa is a badass and I want to marry her. *fangirls*


Those were my picks for 2013. I can’t wait to find more fantastic reads in 2014! Here’s to a great new year filled with good books and friends and adventures and general awesomeness. Happy New Year!

WWW Wednesdays #2

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. It’s a chance for us all to talk about books we’ve just read, books we’re reading now, and books we’re planning on reading soon.

Just Finished

Defy

(thanks @ Scholastic)

I really enjoyed this one! Alexa was a fierce protagonist and I’m so glad I was approved to read this!

Reading Now

Jane Eyre

I’m halfway through this and I cannot believe I waited this long to read it. It’s quickly becoming just as much of a favorite as Pride & Prejudice, which is really saying something.

What's Next?

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

I’m so excited to read this one! I ordered it from Barnes & Noble last week and I’m rather desperate for it; I have a mighty need for holiday books at the moment.