Monday, March 21, 2016

Jane Steele...the Jane Eyre-esque Serial Killer?

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Published: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Headline
Page Count: 432 Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adult Fiction, Gothic, Mystery, Romance.
Find the Author: Website

"Reader, I murdered him. A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre.Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked - but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.A fugitive navigating London's underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate's true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household's strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him - body, soul and secrets - and what if he discovers her murderous past?" - Nabbed from Goodreads.

Reader, I loved this book. 

And I'm completely delighted and surprised that I did. I'm such a devout Jane Eyre fan. I really am. She's MY classical heroine. As in...she is basically a extension of my soul. She and I are soul sisters. Jane Eyre and Jessica Henry - we would so have a celebrity name if she was a real person and not stuck in the eighteenth century. As such a devout Jane Eyre fan I was hesitant in picking this book. It turns out I wasn't just meeting another version of Jane Eyre in reading Jane Steele - I was meeting another fellow Jane Eyre Soul Sister.

Jane Steele identifies as a Serial Killer. She does because she is influenced to believe that she is not good. Not a good person because of the length she is capable of going to defend herself and others. And the often lack of remorse that she feels afterwards. Basically - she kills several people. And all for justifiable causes (that you will learn when you read the book). In some definitions of good and evil - this would jive well. But, as I got to know her and learn of her story - it was apparent that she was not actually a serial nor was she evil. She was misunderstood and a survivor. She does what she needs to do to survive and eventually embraces that part of herself that allows her to do that and channels it to protect others. She doesn't feel the dark urge to kill. She just does it when she feels she has no other recourse .

There are strong parallels between Steele and Eyre. They are not the same character, Steele is not strictly a re-imagined Jane Eyre, and the plot does divert from it's inspired-by origins. Steele comes right out and says that she admired Jane Eyre, that she relates to her, and that she saw the parallels between the two of them. I was expecting a more cold cut reimagining. Strong parallels, similar scenes, etc. Instead of giving us a Eyre-Gone-Dark-And-Twisted - we are given a Jane Eyre Soul Sister. She is inspired by Jane Eyre like so many of us who love and adore her do. She is the same as Eyre in same way that I am. Simply put - I have to share Jane Eyre with Steele. She's not exactly my 'Classical Heroine' to keep forever to myself but you get the general idea. ;)

The plot keeps moving, the characters that surround her are both flawed and developed. The Love Interest - Mr. out Rochester by folds. He is both charming and tormented and yet completely, ever so lovely that I can't help but think that he was meant for Steele. And while it's a gothic romance - the surroundings eventually become brighter. Of course, there's that thing in the basement with the....NO SPOILERS. I promised myself no big spoilers. (The whole thing about her killing people isn't really one because it's marketed as a serial killer Jane Eyre story, lol). There's intrigue, romance, and exotic cultures. In's just quite dark and gloomy all the time. (One of the things that I like best about it. Dark and gloomy makes me happy!).


Four out of five stars. Steele's not Eyre and Faye doesn't try to make her be. Not in a complete-opposite-of-her-way and not in the exactly-like-her-way. It's a rather long read (longer if you use a device like myself) so be prepared. I am planning on going back sometime and re-reading it a little slower. I'm quite big on re-reading. You can catch and understand so much after the first go around. There are parallels between Eyre and Steele but it's not a cage. Neither of them are birds trapped. Steele is entirely her own creature and in that way she is most like Eyre. 

Until next time, 



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This book sounds really interesting. I'll have to look into it some more - thanks so much for sharing your great thoughts, Jessica. :)

  3. I thought this looked lame and cheesy, but yours is at least the third review I've read that said it was actually quite fun, so I'm going to have to give it a try at some point.

    1. Yea! I always think that re-imaginations are going to be like Fan Fictions on crack. lol. But Steele was her own woman and Faye did a great job tying Eyre and Steele together without diving into Fan Fiction mode. Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Yea! I always think that re-imaginations are going to be like Fan Fictions on crack. lol. But Steele was her own woman and Faye did a great job tying Eyre and Steele together without diving into Fan Fiction mode. Thanks for stopping by!


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