Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review: Jane by April Lindner

Tags: YA, modernization, romance, secrets


Her parents dead and her cold older siblings unwilling to provide her with financial support, college student Jane Moore is forced to take on a nanny job at Thornfield Park, home to Nico Rathburn, one of the world’s most famous rock stars who is about to make his comeback from years of partying and drama. As Jane gets to know Nico, she finds that, against her practical nature, she is drawn to him. But they seem to be so different in both class status and personality, and even bigger secrets will keep them apart once they come to light…


Fans of the Charlotte Bronte original will no doubt cheer for this loyal modernization of Jane Eyre. For those of us who are more ambiguous about how we feel about Jane Eyre, however, JANE does little to convince us otherwise.

What April Lindner does best in JANE is capturing the mood and tone of the original story. The tormented romance between the Janes and their employers, the enigmatic attractiveness of the Mr. Rochester character…it’s all here.

What’s missing in JANE, however, is Jane’s inner passion, a part of her that is all too easily overlooked, especially if you’re me and was lukewarm about the original. In Jane Eyre, readers see a fierce determination within her to stay true to herself and speak to her mind. Grown-up Jane, in turn, retains some of this passion and drive, even though on the surface she seems submissive. Jane Moore, on the other hand, starts out as a rather passive and flat character and remains so throughout the story. She feels like she was born an old lady, instead of like how Jane Eyre learned how to hide her fieriness.

Jane Eyre was no Pride and Prejudice for me, and I think that’s what makes it and all subsequent retellings still difficult for me to immerse myself in. I think most people either love or don’t care for Jane Eyre, and the divisions will most likely still stand for this modernization. Bronte fans will cherish the familiarity of this story—the tormented Nico Rathburn, Jane’s levelheadedness, their slowly unfolding romance. And thus the very things that bother people in Jane Eyre will most likely still bother them in JANE. Give the book a try: it’s superbly written and up to the original’s standards, but there’s little it can do to convince you to love it if you weren’t a fan of Jane Eyre in the first place.

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - Moody, solitary, and evocative. Just like the story. The pink was a little unexpected, though... especially when I saw that the inner hardboard is the same color pink as the title as well.

Poppy / Oct. 11, 2010 / Hardcover / 373pp. / $17.99

Copy bought.


  1. I've never been the biggest fan of the original Jane Eyre, and have therefore been pretty leery about this one (Classics redone badly are just painful). Glad to hear that at least the writing is up to par!

  2. I was wondering about this book. I've never read the original, but I do really like "Jenna Starborn," the sci-fi retelling by Sharon Shinn.

  3. Great review - I had a similar impression. The concept and the writing was good, but it had weaknesses. The relationship between nanny and child was too easy and unrealistic. The plot elements that fit a bygone age felt a bit forced and unrealistic. The romantic relationship was slow and then too fast. It was still enjoyable to read.

  4. I haven't read the Bronte Jane Eyre, but I'm intrigued by this retelling. I do better with classics when they're modernised, so I might give it a go.

  5. I just found out I won a copy of this one from another blogger and am STOKED! I loved Jane Eyre as a teen and can't wait to pick this one up. Disappointing to hear our Jane here lacks some of that inner spark, but hopefully the rest of the story will make up for it.

  6. I do love Jane Eyre, the book, the movies, everything :) So a modern version, yes please. And by your review I do think I would enjoy it

  7. I've never read the original (though did see a movie of the story) which may have helped me enjoy this one more than you did. I really liked it, particularly it's contemporary feel. I like the idea that it could potentially open the eyes of younger readers to a classic that they wouldn't otherwise give the time of day to.


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