Book Review: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Jane SteeleWhat’s it about?

Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked – but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.

A fugitive navigating London’s underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate’s true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household’s strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him – body, soul and secrets – and what if he discovers her murderous past?

My thoughts

Reader, I have to admit to you that I was drawn to this book by its cover and at an early stage thought I’d made a mistake by choosing it.  Reader, it took me a good hundred pages for me to get totally engrossed in Jane’s story and I appreciate a lot of readers would have given up by then but I urge you to persevere because it really is a very good book.

Reader, I’ve never read Jane Eyre, and you don’t need to have to enjoy this ( I don’t think Jane Steele would approve of this at all!).  It isn’t a retelling, it just happens to be the protagonist’s favourite book but there are references to it and I suspect comparable events/themes.  I’m not usually a fan of messing around with originals as I read the re-working of Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope for The Austen Project. This novel had been dragged into a contemporary setting (kicking and screaming probably) and for me it just didn’t work, so I was really pleased that Jane Steele had been set in the Victorian era.

The reason for me addressing you Reader as I am is because this is how Jane tells her story. She’s takes her Reader into her confidence and tells us her innermost thoughts…. I really liked this, it almost felt a little naughty!  And, do you know what? I can’t even say I was horrified by the murders and that she deserved to be punished because she has this way of making you think it’s ok…it was deserved so lets turn a blind eye.

Overall, if you like books set in the Victorian era, boarding schools, mysteries and murder then I think you’ll like this and I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks to the publishers, Headline, for the ARC.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Connect with the author Lyndsay Faye

Website | Twitter


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My month in books & bakes – May

my month in books & bakes

What’s happened in May?

On Friday I went to Waterstone’s in Birmingham for the Kate Summerscale event on her new book The Wicked Boy. I couldn’t help but buy a copy because it sounds fascinating. She gave us a real insight into the origination of the book and the immense amount of research writing a book like this takes.

IMG_0233

The Wicked Boy blurb

Early in the morning of Monday 8 July 1895, thirteen-year-old Robert Coombes and his twelve-year-old brother Nattie set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lord’s. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, the boys told their neighbours, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next ten days Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents’ valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside. But as the sun beat down on the Coombes house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building.

When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm, and Robert and Nattie were swept up in a criminal trial that echoed the outrageous plots of the ‘penny dreadful’ novels that Robert loved to read.

In The Wicked Boy, Kate Summerscale has uncovered a fascinating true story of murder and morality – it is not just a meticulous examination of a shocking Victorian case, but also a compelling account of its aftermath, and of man’s capacity to overcome the past.

Books read: 5

(click the image to go to my review, if it’s available)

The Light Between OceansThe Swimming PoolJane Steelewhen he fellMy Husband's Wife

 

 

 

Books added to the TBR: 2

The Wicked BoyThe Murder at the Vicarage

 

Currently reading: Bite by Nick Louth

Favourite book for May:  Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

I baked: (click the images to have a look)

Raspberry Muffins

Raspberry Muffins

Mary's Religieuses

Mary’s Religieuses

Vanilla Sponge

Vanilla Sponge

Dorset Apple Cake

Dorset Apple Cake

Viennese Fingers

Viennese Fingers

What’s coming up in June?

  • Author / Blogger Meet Up in Birmingham on Saturday June 25th

Do share your news, bookish or other in the comments…. 🙂

WWW Wednesday (May 25th)

WWW WednesdayThis weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what’s on your reading list this week…

To join in, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 

I’m reading…

When He Fell by Kate Hewitt

I had hoped to have finished this by the time I posted but it wasn’t to be. Simply told yet captivating from early on, I like this book for its authenticity; one of the parents has proper financial issues which she’s stressing about which make it more realistic rather than just having the cash to throw at a problem.   The blurb gives too much away for my liking because I haven’t got to the second tragedy yet but am waiting for it…I hope it’s not a big anti-climax when it happens!

when he fellThe blurb

Josh and Ben are nine years old and best friends, until a single, careless act in the school playground destroys the lives of both families – and wrenches their small Manhattan school apart.

As both mothers Maddie and Joanna try to find out what really happened between the boys, they discover the truth is far more complicated and painful than either of them could have ever realised… with lasting repercussions for both families.

And when tragedy strikes again in the most unexpected of ways, the lives of these two women will be changed once more, and this time forever.


I recently finished

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

I somewhat surprised myself with this one…it took about 75 or so pages to get into it but then I have to say I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend. You don’t need to have read Jane Eyre to enjoy this (as I haven’t)…there are references to it and I suspect comparable events/themes but if you like books set in the Victorian era, boarding schools, mysteries and murder then I think you’ll like this.

Jane SteeleThe blurb

Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked – but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.

A fugitive navigating London’s underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate’s true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household’s strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him – body, soul and secrets – and what if he discovers her murderous past?


 What’s up next?

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

I was offered this proof copy back in March and with the Kindle edition being published this week it’s time I picked it up.

My Husband's WifeThe blurb

It’s the perfect love story.

Lily meets Ed at a party, and on their second date, he proposes. She’s a lawyer, he’s an up-and-coming artist. They own a small but beautiful flat in London and mix with all the right people.

But Lily has a secret. Something from her past, that is soon to collide with her present. And she thinks her new husband is hiding something too…

The vows they made will soon be tested to the very limits.

‘Till death us do part…’


Have you read any of this week’s choices?

Do share what you’re reading and recommendations in the comments…

WWW Wednesday (May 18th)

WWW WednesdayThis weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what’s on your reading list this week…

To join in, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 

I’m reading…

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

I’m about 80 pages into this book and I’m really not sure about it at all.  From the first page I wasn’t sure if it was a book for me but I’ll persevere to see where it goes.

Jane SteeleThe blurb

Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked – but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.

A fugitive navigating London’s underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate’s true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household’s strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him – body, soul and secrets – and what if he discovers her murderous past?


I recently finished

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

Strange one this because it’s a very slow read…you turn the pages but nothing is really happening, it’s like reading an account of someone’s day, every day.  However, Louise’s way of drip feeding events and information just makes it compelling reading and makes you want to carry on.

The Swimming Pool

The blurb

It’s summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele – wife, mother, teacher – it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.

Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socializing with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn’t know she’d been missing. Real life, and the person she used to be, begins to feel very far away.

But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realizing, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?

 


 What’s up next?

When He Fell by Kate Hewitt

I’m taking part in the blog tour for this book in early June which is organised by Jenny’s Neverland Tours and I’m really looking forward to reading it and taking part.

when he fellThe blurb

Josh and Ben are nine years old and best friends, until a single, careless act in the school playground destroys the lives of both families – and wrenches their small Manhattan school apart.

As both mothers Maddie and Joanna try to find out what really happened between the boys, they discover the truth is far more complicated and painful than either of them could have ever realised… with lasting repercussions for both families.

And when tragedy strikes again in the most unexpected of ways, the lives of these two women will be changed once more, and this time forever.


Have you read any of this week’s choices?

Share what you’re reading in the comments…

WWW Wednesday (May 11th)

Fellow WWWers, I have a hospital appointment this morning, then work and book club this evening. I promise to catch up with your posts tonight or most likely tomorrow. WWW on a Thursday, whatever next 😉
WWW WednesdayThis weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what’s on your reading list this week…

To join in, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 

I’m reading…

The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish

At the point of drafting this post I’m about 200 pages in and there’s this sense of foreboding and the novel is already hinting that something terrible is about to happen. I love Louise Candlish’s writing in this novel, so atmospheric…just like the cover!

The Swimming PoolThe blurb

It’s summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele – wife, mother, teacher – it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.

Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socializing with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn’t know she’d been missing. Real life, and the person she used to be, begins to feel very far away.

But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realizing, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?


I recently finished 2 books

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

This was our book club read for April which was my choice. I picked it based on Claire’s (Art & Soul) recommendation and I wasn’t disappointed.  Almost had me in tears at the end!

The Light Between OceansThe blurb

A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper’s island. It holds a dead man – and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision.
They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours.

 

 

 

I also finished See How They Run by Tom Bale

Loved this book, so much so, that I made it my second 5* read of the year!  Perfect if you love tense ‘what would you do?’ thrillers,

See How They RunThe blurb

In the dead of night, new parents Alice and Harry French are plunged into their worst nightmare when they wake to find masked men in their bedroom. Men ruthless enough to threaten their baby daughter, Evie.

This is no burglary gone wrong.
The intruders know who they’re looking for – a man called Edward Renshaw.
And they are prepared to kill to get to him.

When the men leave empty handed, little do Alice and Harry realise that their nightmare is just beginning. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Who is Renshaw? And what is he hiding?

One thing is clear – they already know too much.

As Alice and Harry are separated in the run for their lives, there is no time for breathe in their fight to be reunited. And with their attackers closing in, there is only a choice:

STAY ALIVE. OR DON’T.


 What’s up next?

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

I’ve never read Jane Eyre and believe this novel is a retelling.  I’m not usually a fan of messing around with originals but I was intrigued by this one so requested through Bookbridgr.

Jane SteeleThe blurb

Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked – but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.

A fugitive navigating London’s underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate’s true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household’s strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him – body, soul and secrets – and what if he discovers her murderous past?


Have you read any of this week’s choices?

Share what you’re reading in the comments…