A reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer says the NYT about Jane Steel.
“Reader, I murdered him”. What a great opening!
Jane Steel has suffered more loss and ugliness in her life at age 9 than most people will in a lifetime. The loss of a Father she doesn’t remember and then her beautiful, sensitive French Mother has left her too tender for her overbearing Aunt and horrid cousin.
When her Aunt sends her to Lowan Bridge School, a boarding school that sounds like Gitmo, she is left to fight for her life. Unable to bear any more, she commits another murder and runs away to London, leaving the dead behind her.
She hides for years, waiting for that knock on the door from the Law, all the while writing morbid “confessions” of the recently hanged, which are published in the paper daily.
Then her Aunt dies and Jane finds out there is a new Master of Highgate House who is looking for a governess for his 9 year old ward. Jane’s mother always told her that the house would one day be hers and now she intends to find out if she is the rightful owner.
This is a satirical romance about things we all can relate to, the lies we tell, the guilt we live with, who we really are and are the lines between good and bad a tad blurry.
While it is most definitely a Gothic piece and Miss Jane begins her killing very early in life, I laughed so hard. My favorite parts were the blurbs above each chapter. My favorite?
” Do you know where the wicked go after death?”
” They go to hell, was my ready and orthodox answer…”
” What must you do to avoid it?”
I deliberated a moment; my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: ” I must keep in good health, and not die.”
This is one of those books that I kept saying to my reading partner, Hey you have to listen to this! It’s that good!