Release-Day Review: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye


Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye // VBC ReviewJane Steele
Lyndsay Faye
Published: March 22, 2016 (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Lyndsay Faye deftly reimagines Bronte’s famous titular heroine Jane Eyre into a serial-killing woman out to help those who can’t help themselves. Yet Jane Steele stands out on her own merit and not that of the character she’s molded after.

Upon the death of her mother, orphaned Jane Steele flees her aunt’s repressive household in order to avoid being associated with the questionable death of her cousin Edwin. Fleeing to Lowan Bridge School, however, proves just as futile an effort, due to the fact that it places Jane in the sights of the vile headmaster Mr. Vesalius Munt. After dealing with the matter as only a killer can, and finding herself on her own, Jane realizes she needs only to rely upon herself for survival.

She quite exceeds at it, too, and upon seeing an advertisement calling for a governess, she jumps at the opportunity. You see, the position is at the childhood home she left all those years ago. Jane believes it may be time for a reckoning. To finally get back what was taken from her, but what she doesn’t count on is the new master of Highgate House, Charles Thornfield, to be the captivating man that he is. Before she knows it, Jane is pulled into a years-old mystery involving, what else, love, death, war, and jewels.

It has been years since I’ve read Jane Eyre. If you go into Jane Steele thinking that you need to be well versed in the former, I assure you this is not the case. Jane Eyre (both character and story) kind of hover on the periphery of Jane Steele, though. Lyndsay Faye is kind enough to provide various passages/quotes from the original throughout her own story that helps lead us along on Steele’s journey. I loved how Jane Steele acknowledges—as she conveys to us her story, Dear Reader—the similarities between her autobiography and that of the her famous predecessor. And I say that if you are well versed in Jane Eyre, you’ll recognize many of the same paths, as far as the main points of the story go. But this is not just a cookie-cutter redo with added blood and gore.

Jane Steele actually reminded me a great deal of one Gin Blanco from Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. Both are characters that have done questionable things, yet they still have a moral compass and, inherently, are good people. They both feel as though they’re alone due to the acts they perform, yet over the course of the book (or series as the case may be) they realize they do have people who care for and love them.

In fact, the various forms of love shown in Jane Steele counteracted all the death and gore and blood quite nicely. Sometimes it was subtle, sometimes outright exclaimed, and yet sometimes even still this love was the cause of the blood and death and gore.

To sum up, Dear Reader, I found Jane Steele to be a serial killer quite admired. Lyndsay Faye did a wonderful job of honoring a classic, yet completely making it her own story. The various twists and turns were both unexpected yet didn’t seem completely off base. If you’re one who maybe wasn’t as keen on the original Jane Eyre, I’d say maybe adding a dash of murder and mayhem to the mix might be the ticket.

Sexual content: scenes suggesting rape, references to sex, kissing

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