In this feminist retelling of Jane Eyre, 17-year-old Stella Ainsley must choose between what is romantic and what is right—all while orbiting uninhabitable planets.
When Stella finds out she’s gotten her dream assignment as a governess aboard the spaceship Rochester, she is thrilled to escape her life as an engineer on the decrepit Stalwart. Soon after arriving onboard, Stella finds that the Rochester is a ship full of secrets, the most compelling of which is 19-year-old Capt. Hugo Fairfax, the handsome, brooding heir to a considerable fortune. Stella finds herself falling in love with the captain even as she discovers the ship’s dark past—a past that, eventually, forces her to choose between her conscience and her heart. Debut author Donne crafts a fascinating world in which humans wait out an ice age in a fleet of spaceships orbiting the Earth, reproducing the same inequities that existed on the ground. Donne populates her narrative with a reasonably diverse cast of characters (most of whom are white or Asian) who are nuanced and sympathetic in their individual struggles against the class oppression that is the story’s central theme. Stella, in particular, is a skillfully rendered character whose independence, confidence, and insistence on consent are a welcome departure from the original Jane Eyre.
A gripping examination of class, romance, and survival set in a dystopian future that feels chillingly relevant to our present times. (Romance. 14-18)