So many 3.5 star books lately, and so hard to decide whether to round up or down. In the end, it was down for this one, because I don’t think, had I not read Jane Eyre, that I would have been very interested in it at all. I think it would have read like just another thriller. But, it was well done, I think. I just have thriller fatigue. And I love Jane Eyre, and while this book shares characters, the characters don’t share motivations, not really. This is really just a fun bit of frippery with not much substance in the end. Which is fine! But a bit of a disappointment as a retelling of one of the most influential novels ever written. On the other hand, it would have been a fool’s errand to try to live up to Jane Eyre so maybe Hawkins made the right decision.
Anyway, this book was fun! I did enjoy seeing how she transformed the various characters, and the red herrings and twists were well done, and I think she pulled them off. I was just a little disappointed in how Bee/Bertha ended up. Bertha Mason is one of literature’s most hard-done by characters, and I have yet to read a book that gives her what I feel is the right treatment. I suppose this one got as close as any. I also thought the core of Jane herself was a little bothersome. The center of the original book is that Jane is such a good person who remains true to her convictions even in the most difficult of circumstances (poverty, abuse, the death of friends, when your fiancé is hiding his wife in the attic and she tries to kill you with fire, overly religious cousins, etc.) Here, Jane is a bit of a scammer, although at her core I suppose she is also a good person. There were also shades of her desperation to love and belong somewhere that rung true, but overall, they felt like very different characters to me.
I think this is worth checking out for sure, just don’t go in expecting Jane Eyre and be prepared for more of a fluffy thriller and might have a lot of fun.
[3.5 stars, trying to decide whether to round up or down]