Jane by April Lindner, 365 pages, Poppy, 2010.

4/5 stars

Tagline: What if Jane Eyre fell in love with a rock star?

Taken from the Good Reads summary:

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, a world-famous 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 soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?

An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.

Continue after the break for my review!

So, what happened in this book?

When we first meet Jane, she has recently been forced to drop out of Sarah Lawrence due to a lack of funding. Both of her parents were killed in a car accident a few years ago and what few stocks they left to her turned out to be nearly worthless. Both of her older siblings wanted nothing to do with her, let alone attempt to help her financially, and so Jane begins searching for a nanny position in hopes of working a few years to save up enough money to pay for the remainder of her college education. Because Jane is an unusual 19 year old – that is, she has little to no interest in pop culture, has a very serious and discerning disposition, and a flawless resume, the agency that she goes through sets her up as notorious rock legend Nico Rathburn’s nanny.

While caring for Rathburn’s daughter, Maddy, Jane becomes a member of the household and after a few months, she begins to develop feelings for Nico. At first she is unsure of herself and almost believes that the only reason she has experienced these feelings is because Nico has become a genuine friend. Not only does he treat her as an equal, but he seems to care for her general well being and values her opinion about his life and relationships. However, Jane finally admits that she has grown to love Nico.

But nothing can ever be easy. Jane must come to terms with her feelings for Nico Rathburn and decide whether to act on them, or to choose to be satisfied with the attention he has given her thus far. While she attempts to navigate her emotions, Jane notices that something is not quite right at Thornfield Park. The first rule she is given upon her arrival at the mansion is that she must never, under any circumstances, go to the third floor of the building. It is completely off-limits to the entire household. However, late at night, Jane often hears footsteps from the third floor as well as a cackling kind of laughter. And every so often the mysterious house keeper Brenda appears, to do an odd load of laundry and then disappears for a week.

What did I think?

I loved it… but I can’t say that with complete 100% certainty. Jane was the kind of book that I started out hating and grew to love… and that doesn’t happen too often for me. My general rule is that if a book cannot hook me within the first 100 pages, I will set it aside and cut my losses. For some reason, I gave Jane 200 pages and then I was totally hooked. The first half was extremely slow but completely took off in a two page span. And I’m really glad that I didn’t set it aside.

This story was an amazing blend of eerie mystery and heart wrenching romance. The whole bit with the third floor and the muted foot steps late at night was incredibly creepy. I have never read Jane Eyre so I had no idea what to expect from the person who lived upstairs and I was dying to figure out what the heck was going on. This particular part of the story is probably the main reason that I stuck with the book throughout the first half.

And the romance. Ugh! My poor little heart! It was the type of romance where the characters are finally looking into their bliss-filled sugar coated future and the next second, it is all ripped out from under them. But just when you think that they’re going to be okay after all, it all comes crashing down… again! And then hearts are broken, and secrets are revealed, and more hearts are broken, and new love interests are introduced only to rekindle old flames…….. I could go on and on. What a roller coaster. This was seriously one of the best love stories I have read in a while because it kept me on the edge of my seat (and yes, it is based on a classic and props to you Charlotte Bronte and etc., etc.).

The only issue that I had with this book (other than the very slow beginning) was how Lindner wrote Mr. Rathburn. I understand that she was trying to stay faithful to Bronte’s Rochester while bringing him into the modern world. However, it felt like half the time I was reading about a man from the 1800’s and the other half, I was reading about a rock star. Rathburn didn’t feel consistent. Perhaps it is just me, but I cannot fully accept a character who discusses his history with serious drugs and partying, dropping the F-bomb quite frequently, only to turn around, clutch Jane’s hand to his chest and say, “Please tell me if you have ever liked another man.” I don’t know. It didn’t feel authentic…. but I could set this problem aside. I did like Mr. Rathburn. He was all swoony and tortured and sexy and, yeah. You can catch my drift.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. 4/5 stars. I will read it again and it even made me want to give Jane Eyre a chance (not that it will happen in the near future). However, I wouldn’t recommend this book fore veryone. So if you enjoy moody and tortured love and characters who need to find themselves, give it a shot. And isn’t the cover so pretty?

Next I will be reading and reviewing Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song. Until then, happy reading!

PS- April Lindner has a new book coming out this fall. It is called Catherine. Can you guess which book it is based off of? =]