Jane by April Lindner

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?

Wowwwwwww. I really loved this book. And I already want to read it again. Gasp.

If you know me well enough, you would know that I do not re-read books lightly; I save that honor only for the very best ones, the ones who truly deserve it. And this book does. I was mesmerized throughout the entire story; I couldn't put it down. It even gave me reading hangover...you know, when you stay up night reading and you just can't tear yourself away, just one more chapter, just one more page...and then you wake all bleary-eyed and bushy-haired the next morning, but content because you know how it all turns out.

Perhaps because I have been a nanny, I immediately identified with Jane. It was a tad unbelievable that her parents would be so uncaring toward her as a child, unwanted or not; however, this explains Jane's resilience and resourcefulness as an adult. The way she slowly comes to realize her feelings for Nico is absolutely innocent, and quite charming. I especially liked the part where she breaks away from Nico and Thornfield Park, even though she has nowhere to go and no home to speak of. Those months she spent away from Nico, finding a job, new friends, a whole new life, helped her to realize what she really wanted, and why.

Nico is intense and terrifying, and Ms. Lindner captures that dark essence that all rock stars just ooze out the wazoo. Though he can be self-centered, we also see plenty of his kindness as well. Eventually we see that, yes, he is conflicted, yes, he has issues, but...we like him anyway. And what about his poor, insane wife! Locked up on the third floor! Every part about her was so sad that I kept wishing she would recover from her illness somehow, even though I realized she was too far gone inside her own mind for her to ever come out again.

I do wish there were more to Maddy's character. She is just a little girl, yes, but she is a central figure in the story in my mind. Even though Nico obviously adores her, and Jane comes to love her, I felt like I knew very little about her personality; she could have been any generic child. At crucial points during the story, her whereabouts were not even mentioned, and I was left wondering what she was doing and who was taking care of her.

I would love to see this book as a movie! Who wouldn't want to see a true classic revisioned as a rock star romance? The descriptions of Thornfield Park are lovely, just enough to let you build a sprawling, brooding, mist-covered estate in your mind, and it would be great to see that brought to life on screen. I have had a lot of fun these last few days trying to think of who could best play Jane and especially Nico  in a film version.

I do hope Ms. Lindner will retell more of Charlotte Bronte's works. There are many versions of Pride and Prejudice and other Austen classics on the YA shelves, so it's about time Miss Bronte gets her turn.

The best part is, fans of Bronte's Jane Eyre will enjoy the parallels between the two stories, while readers who are new to it just might be inspired to pick up the original. Either way, it's a win-win for everyone!

Note: This book was a complimentary Advance Review Copy courtesy of the author or publisher.

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