Kirkus Reviews QR Code
JANE by April Lindner


A Modern Romantic Retelling of Jane Eyre

by April Lindner

Age Range: 15 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-316-08420-8
Publisher: Poppy/Little, Brown

Retelling a classic as contemporary fiction is a tricky business, as demonstrated in this uneven rendering of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre as chick lit. Forced to leave college by the death of her parents, Jane finds employment at Thornfield Hall as nanny to the daughter of former rock megastar Nico Rathburn, who's now making a comeback. Both quickly fall in love with Jane, although she’s a distinctly odd duck, primly thinking of and addressing her employer as “Mr. Rathburn” and disconnected from her peers. Jane’s passivity and naïve acceptance of strange doings at Thornfield feel anachronistic. They’re superficially faithful to the original, but readers will miss Brontë’s Gothic intensity. Mr. Rochester, the archetypal Brontë hero—mysterious and dangerous, irresistible to Jane and generations of readers—doesn’t survive translation into a YouTube-era celebrity. Jane Eyre’s harsh world was perilous for single, penniless women; ours—even for an impecunious Sarah Lawrence dropout—can’t compete. Flashes of originality, wit and vivid imagery bring the story to life intermittently, but the distracting improbabilities pull readers out of the story again and again. (author’s note) (Fiction. 15 & up)