Monday, June 26, 2023

Jane Steele--A Good Jane Eyre Variation

Interesting story: I decided I needed a new Kindle. While I was working out what to buy, a family member told me I could get a Kindle app for my iPad for free. For free! And she was right! And it works just like a Kindle, except better, because the covers are in color and I can see them all instead of
just lists of book titles, which was all I had on my very old Kindle.

A great deal of my life is on my iPad now.

But that's not the interesting part of the story. The interesting part is that I was able to transfer my nearly 200 volume Kindle library to my iPad with no problem. Except that the "read" categories didn't transfer. There were just all these book titles, some of which I didn't recognize, and some of which I couldn't tell if I'd read for one reason or another. So I've been dipping into some of these unfamiliar titles, and it was clear that I couldn't remember if I'd read some of them because I hadn't liked them and probably didn't finish them. So I didn't waste any time on those and filed them away under one of the beautiful new categories I've made.

But one book I didn't recall reading was Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. Its publisher describes it as a "reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer." Reader, that is right up my alley. I love reimaginings of Jane Eyre, the most famous being Rebecca. But I couldn't remember reading this particular one. So I start reading it, and I get through the childhood and school part, with no recollection, but then I come to something I do recall reading. So I thought, Well, I must have read this far. Then I read some more, and I get to another part that's familiar. 

I go on like that through the whole book. Which I did like a great deal. Presumably I liked it the first time I read it, too, though not enough to remember it.

What Is Jane Steele?

The original Jane Eyre is a Gothic novel, in which a young woman is in some kind of danger in a moody setting with a house having a significant part in the story. I think you could argue that the danger Jane is in is from losing her independence and having to play some role defined for her by society or within marriage. She struggles to live life on her terms. Jane Steele is more of a mystery/thriller, one in which the main character has read Jane Eyre and refers to it often. In the original Jane Eyre, Jane believes that she is not a good person, probably because she doesn't have an interest in conforming to social norms. In Jane Steele Jane has no doubt that she is not a traditionally good person.

Author Lyndsay Faye's website appears to have vanished. Earlier this year, she had a neat section on research she did on the clothes Jane Steele wears. I did notice her clothes while reading the book this second time. 

The ending of the book seemed to be a set up for one of those nineteenth century historical couples mystery series. Or maybe it is just a nod to another type of book, the way Jane Steele, itself, is a nod to Jane Eyre.

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