“I hope that the epitaph of the human race when the world ends will be: Here perished a species which lived to tell stories.”
― Lyndsay Faye, Jane Steele
My first five star read in what feels like ages! I was so hesitant to pick this up, because Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorites and I am always wary of retellings. In this case, however, it was worth it. The story is essentially a Gothic reworking of the famous story, but with a few significant changes to give it a character of its own. We are introduced to Jane Steele, who through a series of difficult circumstances finds herself alone in the world and having to fend for herself when all forces seem directed against her. Even though she is far from perfect, I really felt for her and was rooting for her throughout the novel as she grows older. I really loved that Mr. Thornfield is not as much as a macho as Rochester (though perhaps wrongly, I have a soft spot for this fellow, too). He is an affable man, with wit and a willingness to accept Jane as his equal. The sub-tory regarding a theft of jewels in India was interesting and nicely woven into the main plot, and now that the last page has been turned, I wish it were a little longer. Faye has an excellent grip of the timely language and sketches a vivid portrait of Victorian London and the broody countryside. The characters are intriguing and multi-dimensional - even side characters - and the pace was fast with new twists around every page.
Needless to say, I will certainly be keeping an eye on this talented author in the future!!