Release Date: October 11, 2010
Age group: YA
Description (from Goodreads):
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.
After Jane's parents die and the amount of money that she inherits is not nearly enough to keep her in college, Jane has to drop out and apply for a job as a nanny. She is 19 years old, and for her whole life she has felt like she does not quite belong - for her family she was the "less-than-welcome surprise" and since she was a child, she has always been overshadowed by her older siblings. When she is offered the job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, she says yes just because she could do with the money. She wants to go back to college, and by working for someone as wealthy as Nico Rathburn makes saving money faster a lot easier.
"For as long as I could remember, he'd been one of those celebrities whose name conjured up instant associations, most of them having more to do with his dramatic personal life than his music."
Once Jane arrives at Rathburn park, she is surprised by the grandeur of the estate. Soon enough, she finds a daily rhythm with Maddy, Nico's daughter and they become attached to each other. When Nico shows up, he is first brooding and quite demanding, but once they spend more time together, Jane finds herself falling in love with Nico. Though it first seems that Nico has his interests elsewhere, he eventually admits that he has been in love with Jane the whole time.
Just as things start to look up for both Nico and Jane, a secret from Nico's past tears them apart. Jane, who must be true to herself despite her love for Nico has to make decisions that change everything for both of them.
If you are familiar with the original Jane Eyre novel, you will roughly already know what happens in this one. The story follows quite clearly the story line of the original novel, just in a modern setting. Jane is a modern heroine, but still very similar to the Jane of the original novel. As mentioned before, she has never really been accepted by her family. She is quite plain, or at least does not see herself as pretty. In college she pretty much made only one friend and she does not really know how to talk to men. She is not big on small talk and she rather spends her time painting and reading than on activities so-called "normal" 19 year olds like to spend their time on. So when Nico Rathburn, the world famous rock star takes interest on her, it is hard for her to see what he sees in her.
Nico Rathburn is obviously a lot older than Jane and he has gathered a lot more life experience than she has. He has been in the paparazzi limelight since his career started, maybe more because of his personal life than his music. He is known for doing drugs, having relationships with models and singers and just generally gallivanting around in different states of clarity. But now he has been clear for a couple of years and is working on his comeback. When Jane shows up, he starts to feel something he has not felt in years. When he is not sure about Jane's feelings, he tries to make her jealous to get a confession out of her.
"He had a strong nose, dark brows, a square jaw, and a full lower lip. I had been right the other day: he wasn't classically handsome, but his features were appealing, full of character. I could even see why Linda thought he was sexy. Without meaning to, I glanced at his broad shoulders and the smooth, bronze skin of his back."
I really liked this story, but there were so things that I would like to address. First of all, I did not like the name Nico. I know this is not a big thing or anything, but for some reason I got annoyed by his name. Then, there is the whole fact of falling in love extremely fast and then just deciding to get married. This is something that was quite normal in the time the original novel was written - since you were not really able to spend time together properly before getting married, people got married and after that got to know each other properly. Also during the times of the original novel, women who did not get married were seen as outcasts by the society. In terms of the modern days, you can date and have sex and so on without ever getting married. So the whole fact that they want to get married so fast in this one seemed kind of weird to me, especially due to Jane's character, and I kind of hoped Lindner would have written that point of the story a bit differently.
Other than that, I liked this book. It is obviously not as good as Jane Eyre, but I don't think it even attempts to be. Lindner is clearly a fan of novel and it shows from her writing from the little details of the story and characterizations. I feel like this is good read for both the ones who love the original novel and for the ones who have not read it yet. For the ones who love Jane Eyre, this a way to relive that story with a different approach. For the ones who have not read the original, this might spark interest to read it. It is romantic, funny and there is also the element of mystery in it, especially the ones who are not familiar with Jane Eyre.
What are your thoughts on these modern re-tellings of classic novels? Do you have a favorite one?