by April Lindner
In this modern retelling of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Jane Moore is a nineteen-year-old college student forced to drop out and seek a job as a nanny after her parents' death. Her older sister and brother have taken the inheritance money and left her with almost nothing.
A plain Jane in every sense, Jane has never been one to pay attention to fads or celebrities, which makes her the perfect candidate to take over as the nanny to Maddy, child of rock superstar, Nico Rathburn.
Initially, her job is fairly easy. Nico is out making the publicity rounds, preparing for his next big tour, so Jane's duties are fairly light. She takes Maddy to and from preschool and keeps her busy the rest of the time. When Maddy is away, Jane has time to wander the town and hone her painting skills.
One day, on the way to a horse ranch to paint, she is nearly run over by none other than Nico Rathburn, and so begins the retelling of the classic love story.
Final thoughts: I'm mixed on this one. I LOVE Jane Eyre and that may be the reason I'm so torn about this. If I wasn't so familiar with the original material, I may have loved this book, too. Unfortunately, the author also loves Jane Eyre and she works hard to incorporate as much of the original book as possible, including some of the original dialogue. It's disconcerting to read when I have both books in my head. Most of the story is successfully updated, but there are a few things that just didn't work in the update. Instead of living with a hated aunt and then spending much of her childhood at Lowood School, Jane instead has a mother who constantly tells her she's not pretty and always believes the abusive older brother. Instead of told in one cohesive chronology, the author chooses to use flashbacks, which pull the reader out of the moment. And, sadly, the relationship between Nico and Jane doesn't progress as well as that of Jane and Mr. Rochester. She goes from confused to in love in just a few pages.
And one final thought: the author seemed to feel the need to add a sexual element, including a bedroom scene. It wasn't necessary and seemed like a forced element to try and modernize the story, rather than a natural progression of the relationship.