Jane by April Lindner
publisher: Poppy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
release date: October 10, 2010
hardcover, 384 pages
intended audience: Young Adult
source: ARC received from publisher for review
Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, an iconic rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer, and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is tested by a torturous secret from his past. Part irresistible romance and part darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.
Review: I've never read Jane Eyre. It's been one of those books that I always meant to pick up, but never have. April Lindner's new spin on this story had me so enthralled that as soon as I closed the last page, (I was at work) I walked straight out to the shelf and grabbed a copy of Jane Eyre.
Jane Moore has just had to drop out of Sarah Lawrence college due to lack of funds---her parents have just been in a fatal car accident and left everything of value to her two older siblings. With a solid promise to herself to work her way back to school, she lands in the office of Discriminating Nannies, Inc. to find a job to get her back on her feet. Little does she know, this will be her ticket to something amazing. Discriminating Nannies, Inc. is looking for the exact right person to fill a very special nanny position. They need someone who is trustworthy, doesn't pay attention to tabloid stories, and can be absolutely discreet---they think Jane fits the bill perfectly.
Jane has been given the job of nanny to the 5-year-old daughter of rock star, Nico Rathburn. Now Jane us not into music, but even she knows this name. Known for some serious bad-boy antics in his earlier days, Jane has no idea what to expect in her new position. When she arrives, he is away and she quickly bonds with his daughter,Maddy, and the head of the household staff, Lucia. When she finally meets Nico, they get off to a rocky, awkward start but then slowly grow to be friends.
Both Jane and Nico are fascinating complex characters. Through little flashbacks we get to see a bit of Jane's family history. Her family life was pretty harsh, with a mother who always made it clear that having Jane was an "unwelcome surprise", a vain, selfish sister who ignored her, and a brother who abused her, her only love and protection came from her father, but he was seldom around. It's easy to see where Jane's lack of self-confidence come from. Still, she shows some strength and spark when it comes to sticking up for herself, even against the big intimidating rock star. She is very goal driven, determined to get her life back in order. She speaks her mind when it's important. It's also interesting how she handles her own feelings,...for anyone, I think, it would take a lot to walk away from something they care so much about, to save herself. It was beautiful to see her grow throughout the story into someone with the strength to stand up to her own past.
Nico is an interesting mess, and you can see how his long time stardom has affected his actions and the way he interacts with Jane. He is a bit bossy at times and tends to handle his feelings all wrong. But overall, he is this amazing, loving person who has just gotten a little sidetracked along the way. I can't say much more without given too much away!
I think Lindner's decision to make him a rock icon was the perfect way to translate a classic story from the 1800s into something that can catch the interest and fascination of readers today. After all, can you imagine yourself as the nanny to a famous person's child---the strange goings on that you would have to deal with in the household of a star?
I, for one, loved this book, but as I said, I haven't read Jane Eyre. I think many lovers of Jane Eyre were wary about seeing this story retold, worried it wouldn't hold up the integrity of the original. So for those of your who are worried, I'm directing your to an awesome YA book reviews blog who has read Jane Eyre and Jane, and loved it! Check it out here:
Carol's Prints: Jane Eyre Gets a Makeover.
Definitely give this one shot---you won't be disappointed in this great love story!
Visit the author's site here!