Lyndsay Faye has produced an audacious homage to Jane Eyre just in time for Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday. Unlike recent books which re-write a classic from the point of view of another character, Faye gives us another Jane altogether, one who is entirely aware of Brontë’s heroine and aware of how that story mirrors her own but only in the broad sweep of the tale; in detail Jane Steele is a very different heroine, a murderess, a liar and a teller of tales.
Jane suffers at the hands of her aggressive cousin, her cruel aunt and her even crueler headmaster, and like Jane Eyre she is called wicked, but for Jane Steele this accusation is true because she takes revenge on those who threaten her and her loved ones. When Jane applies for a governess job at Highgate House, she sees a chance to regain her lost inheritance, but what she finds is a new family and the love of Mr. Thornfield. Added to this is a high-octane crime caper involving the Anglo-Sikh wars, lost jewels and some dastardly East India Company men.
Lyndsay Faye has created an enthralling gothic tale which is both a tongue-in-cheek homage to the Victorian novel and a superbly crafted, plot-twisting crime thriller. She has pulled off a masterstroke with this book, perfect for fans of Charlotte Brontë and Arthur Conan Doyle.