Monday, May 16, 2011
REVIEW: 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'm a big fan of Jane Eyre, so when I saw this book, Jane by April Lindner, I was quite excited. I thought it would be really insteresting to see a modern retelling of an old classic like this. Especially after I'd seen the gorgeous cover. It's a very moody and atmospheric cover, isn't it? I really love it. However, I found myself a little disappointed with the actual story.
I wonder if perhaps I would always have a problem with such a book? I found that Jane followed the original story a little too closely. Yes, Mr Rochester is now a rock star as opposed to a wealthy landowner, and some other minor things have been updated and modernised, but much of the dialogue in particular felt very similar.
After the death of the parents that she was never very close to, Jane Moore is forced to drop out of Sarah Lawrence and look for work. At a a nannying agency, after learning that Jane has very little interest in popular culture or music and with Jane's very sensible nature, she is given the position of nanny for rock star Nico Rathburn's child, Maddy.
What follows is exactly as you'd expect from a retelling of Jane Eyre. After spending a considerable amount of time together, Jane falls in love with her employer and becomes increasingly jealous of his relationship with Bianca Ingram, the classy and beautiful photographer who is covering Nico Rathburn's comeback photo shoot. There's a kindly housekeeper and some gossiping maids. Maddy is quite sweet and adorable. The mysterious maid who works on the third floor provides some chills and creepiness.
It isn't really the similarity with the original that I had a problem with, but the lack of emotion. Jane's character in this book felt a little flat to me. For me, I didn't really get that there was any real depth of feeling within her. Whereas in the original, I felt like Jane Eyre really made her own choices and stood up for her ideals and strong moral code. There was fire and passion within the original Jane Eyre that I didn't feel in the retelling. And as such, I didn't end up believing in the relationship between Jane and Nico, which is what the bulk of the novel really depends on.
Perhaps others will enjoy this book more than I did and it is possible that it will bring Jane Eyre to a new generation of readers. For me, I feel like I need to read the original again in order to be satisfied.