I’ve read plenty of good books in 2016: books I’ve enjoyed, books that were well-written, books I’d recommend to people. What I haven’t read are books that go above and beyond that. Jane Steele is the first full length novel I’ve read this year that I want to procure a hardcopy of and just fall asleep with after rereading my favorite parts. I want to force it upon friends and strangers alike because it was such a lovely reading experience.
Jane Steele is kind of a retelling of Jane Eyre. I say kind of because it’s more inspired by Jane Eyre than a true retelling. The titular character, Jane Steele, becomes obsessed with Jane Eyre, probably because their stories have similarities. In actuality, the Faye’s characters are significantly different from Bronte’s. First and foremost of those differences? Jane Steele is a murderess. Many times over.
The first time I read Jane Eyre, I thought it was just ok, but over the years I’ve come to love it more and more. The stunning language, messed up characters, and occasional gothic ridiculousness got under my skin. It was a delight to read about a character who feels similarly about Bronte’s book.
Faye smartly spent a little more time fleshing out the settings and characters of Steele’s childhood. It makes her murderess-of-a-main-character and her actions more understandable. The world Steele lives in is richly developed and the characters she interacts with are vividly depicted. Special shout-out to Mr. Thornfield who is my favorite version of Mr. Rochester so far.
Should you read this? Yes. Should you read this if you love Jane Eyre? Double yes.
I listened to this book on audio, narrated by Susie Riddell. If you’re an audiobook listener, I really recommend this one. Riddell is a fantastic voice actress and brought something extra to the book. It will be her voice in my head when I eventually read the hardcopy.