Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Posted On 18 March 2016

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jane steeleI’ve literally just finished reading Jane Steele and I enjoyed it so much that I’m torn between wanting to hug it and shower it with love or burst into tears because it came to an end so swiftly.  I loved this story.  It was so unexpected and so wonderfully written.  It gave me laugh out loud moments, thrills and intrigue and frankly transported me back to my teenage years when I first discovered Jane Eyre.  In short, it’s books like this that made me start reading in the first place.  In case I’ve left any doubt on the subject, this book was fantastic!

Jane Steele shares a number of experiences similar to those suffered by Jane Eye.  Cruel relatives, a harsh school life and a future as a governess to name the most obvious.  However, the similarities end there.  Jane Steele is a totally different character and, I feel, a quite appropriately named one too.  I would first of all say that this is not a retelling of Jane Eyre so if that’s what you’re expecting I want to put the record straight.  This is a story that stands firmly on it’s own two feet whilst at the same time paying homage to the classic story.

Ms Steele, who quite unashamedly states ‘Reader, I murdered him’ on the front of the book takes a different turn in life.  In an era when women have no real power or standing Jane Steele takes the bit firmly between her teeth and refuses to be defined or restricted by her petticoats.  Following an early incident Jane believes her character to be ‘set’ in stone and the realisation of that does, to a degree, give her a certain freedom in the way she behaves.  Believing herself beyond redemption she has little else to lose after all.  She’s a great character to read.  Her story is articulate and flows so easily that I found myself completely transported and before I realised I’d read practically half the book in one sitting.

The other characters who share the book with Jane are all engaging.  We have Mr Thornfield, heir and master of Highgate and his strange and yet frankly wonderful household, Sardar Singh, a rather unconventional butler and Sahjara who is currently in the care of Mr Thornfield.  Detective Sam Quillfeather, is the policeman trying to connect all the dots surrounding the mysterious murders that have been accruing on his watch.

The story revolves around Jane’s potentially thwarted inheritance and the mystery surrounding her family.  On top of that we have an alternative murder mystery that comes into the story once Jane returns to her old family home.  In between time we have the years in between spent in Lowan Bridge – the harsh boarding school run by the tyrannical Mr Munt and then a period of time when Jane has to survive, using her wits, on the streets of London.

I have a number of books that are firm favourites and amongst my classic reads Jane Eyre takes a top seat.  I love the brooding gothic feel, the secrets (quite literally hidden in the attic) and the tragic Jane whose life seems to be riddled with misery. Jane Steele, whilst not a retelling positively gave me the goosebumps with it’s little snatches of similarity.

I have absolutely no criticisms of this book.  None.  I’ve searched the attics and the cellars and turned up empty handed.  I loved it.  It’s a deliciously ridiculous, well written and witty story that doesn’t take itself too seriously and delivers a fast paced slice of entertainment.

A thoroughly compelling read that I fear I cannot do justice to in this review.  I think, if you love the classics, Du Maurier, Conan Doyle or the beautiful writing of authors such as Donna Tartt then I think you would really enjoy this book.  I shall definitely be checking out more of Lyndsay Faye’s work and I would certainly read more adventures from Jane Steele – I’m looking at you Ms Faye with a hopeful expression!

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy.  I’m so pleased to have read Jane’s story.  The above is my own opinion.

 

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24 Responses to “Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye”

  1. hlmorris85

    This is one I wanted to read the second I heard about it. Glad to see you liked it!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s amazing! I loved it and just was glued to the page.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I hadn’t heard of this before, but your enthusiasm is practically leaking off my computer screen and infectious 😀 Gonna have to give this one a look and see! (and I misread your opening sentence and thought you said you loved it so much you wanted to hug it and shower with it…I was like, wow, that’s…definitely love for a book, lol!)

    • @lynnsbooks

      Shower with it – that would be kind of creepy wouldn’t it! Like I’ve turned into some strange book stalker type of person – not to mention it would completely ruin the book LOL!
      I loved this – there’s no fantasy elements in it at all but it’s so well written and I loved the story and main character. I couldn’t put it down. 400+ pages and read it in two days!
      Lynn 😀

  3. RebeccaForrester

    This sounds SO awesome! I’ve seen some other very positive reviews of this, but yours really takes the cake!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks. I loved this and would read more of Jane Steele given the opportunity.
      Lynn 😀

  4. jessicabookworm

    I’m so pleased to hear you enjoyed this. I have heard only great things about it and the more I hear the more I really want to read it!

  5. mervih

    That sound like a book I’d definitely enjoy! But I haven’t read Jane Eyre.

    • @lynnsbooks

      To be honest I don’t think you need to have read Jane Eyre to enjoy this. It’s not a retelling although the story has certain parallels. It’s such a good book to read. Well written and very entertaining.
      Lynn 😀

      • mervih

        That’s very good to know. Thanks!

  6. proxyfish

    This sounds fantastic – you really make me want to read it! Great review!!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really think you’d like it. I thought it was excellent. One of my favourite books so far this year!
      Lynn 😀

  7. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    The tile alone would be enough to make me stop and take a second look, but your review is so compelling that I would read this no matter what 🙂
    Oh, and the cover reminds me of Sarah Pinborough’s novels, which adds a further note to this fascinating “siren song”. Thanks for sharing!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I loved this – and I did have Sarah P and a number of other favourite authors running through my head when I was reading this. There are definite shout outs not just to C Bronte but also to Du Maurier (Mrs Danvers!) not to mention Dickens and Conan Doyle. I was telling somebody about it at work and saying think of Donna Tartt, Daphne Du Maurier and Charlotte Bronte all rolled up into one with little snatches of all!
      Loved it.
      Lynn 😀

  8. jenclair

    I WANT this one!

  9. Danya @ Fine Print

    I love the concept, you loved the book…clearly I need this in my life. I’ve just placed it on hold at the library! 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      OMG – I loved this and apart from Jessice (Bookworm Chronicles – who you may already know??) you were the other person I thought of whilst reading this. It was so good. I was hooked. I just adored it! A Jane Eyre with a serial killer – hell yes, get in my life (well, not the serial killer!)… anyway, yes, I think you would love this. I hope your library comes up with a copy soon. I HAVE to know your thoughts.
      Lynn 😀

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    […] Jane Steel by Lyndsay Faye – A story that has many similarities to Jane Eyre and in fact in which the protagonist’s life runs parallel to that of Jane Eyre for a portion of the story.  This is a read that I thoroughly enjoyed. […]

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