Booklist Reviews 2016 February #1
*Starred Review* At several points, the life of Jane Steele in nineteenth-century England parallels that of Jane Eyre, from the novel beloved by both author Faye and her title character. The key difference comes with Eyre's famed declaration: "Reader, I married him." In this entertaining riff on a classic, that line becomes, "Reader, I murdered him." The first crime occurs when orphaned nine-year-old Jane pushes her 13-year-old cousin, who's trying to rape her, down a ravine. Although accidental, this incident inures her as she deals with evil men, from a cruel headmaster to a threatening outlaw. The last murder occurs at Highgate House, Jane's childhood home, which she was told would someday be hers. She as governess to young Sahjara Kaur, ward of estate owner Charles Thornfield, but Jane's real intent is to reclaim her property. But Thornfield intrigues her: born in Lahore, he's a veteran of the Anglo-Sikh War and has a staff of Sikhs, a mysterious cellar, and a backstory she longs to know. Intrigue blossoms to something more, of course, but the surprises keep coming to an eminently satisfying ending. Faye's skill at historical mystery was evident in her nineteenth-century New York trilogy, but this slyly satiric stand-alone takes her prowess to new levels. A must for Brontë devotees; wickedly entertaining for all. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2015 November #1
With the literary world getting set to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth, Edgar-nominated author Faye offers an unexpected look at Jane Eyre. Orphaned Jane Steele, abused first by her venomous aunt and later at a school where she fears for her life, finally fleeing to London with blood on her hands. When she learns that her aunt has died and that Charles Thornfield is the new master of Jane's childhood home, Jane takes a job there incognito as a governess to discover whether she is the rightful heir. Soon, though, she falls for Thornfield.[Page 62]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews 2016 January #1
Young Jane Steele's favorite book, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, mirrors her life both too little and too much. Faye's protagonist is abused by her cousin, shunned by her aunt, and then is sent to a boarding school where she finds companionship amid tyrannical oppression. She even meets and falls in love with her own "Mr. Rochester," Mr. Charles Thornfield of Highgate House. Unlike Jane Eyre, however, Jane Steele reacts to her persecutors with violence and leaves bloody bodies in her wake. She harbors other secrets as well—Highgate House is Jane's childhood home, and she starts her employ as governess with the secret intention of proving that she is the rightful heir. Mr. Thornfield and the house's other inhabitants have secrets and dark pasts as well, but if Jane confesses her wickedness and deceit to Mr. Thornfield, will he be able to forgive her? And can Jane use her "talents" to save the Highgate inhabitants from outside conspirators? VERDICT In an arresting tale of dark humor and sometimes gory imagination, Faye (Dust and Shadow; The Gods of Gotham) has produced a heroine worthy of the gothic literature canon but reminiscent of detective fiction. Her novel will draw in readers of gothic and historical crime fiction, and nonfiction such as Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher. Fans of Victorian detectives like Sherlock Holmes and C. Auguste Dupin will also find Jane a worthy sleuth. [See Prepub Alert, 10/5/15.]—Jennifer Funk, McKendree Univ. Lib., Lebanon, IL[Page 95]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2016 February #3
Set in Victorian England, this intriguing tribute to Jane Eyre from Edgar-finalist Faye (The Gods of Gotham), reimagines Charlotte Brontë's heroine as a killer. "Of all my many murders, committed for love and for better reasons, the first was the most important," the eponymous narrator notes in the captivating opening. That killing was in self-defense, Jane explains after admitting she has ambivalent feelings about Jane Eyre, which she has read over and over again. At age nine, Jane fights off the advances of her creepy 13-year-old cousin, Edwin Barbary, who winds up at the bottom of a ravine with a broken spine. She succeeds in selling Edwin's subsequent death as an accident, but her aunt ships her off to a Dickensian boarding school, run by a sadistic headmaster who puts his charges through a daily reckoning that ends with most of them going without food. The arresting narrative voice is coupled with a plot that Wilkie Collins fans will relish. Author tour. Agent: Erin Malone, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.)[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC