Years ago, I went through a period when I read tons of Victorian novels. There were times they drove me crazy, when the young female lead endured endless abuse from all quarters and then was finally saved by some guy, often one who hadn’t previously been particularly nice to her himself.
I know it was the Victorian era, when women had very little power, but I couldn’t help wanting to shake these women and tell them to stand up for themselves. Lyndsay Faye’s Jane Steele (G. P. Putnam's Sons, March 22, 2016) is like wish fulfillment for me. Jane Steele is a version of Jane Eyre, but with 21st-century updates, like overt female sexuality, anger and vengeance.
When I first heard about this book, what I heard was that it was a satire of Victorian novels in which Jane Eyre is a serial killer. Really? I wondered if it would just be a spoof or some kind of mashup. Or maybe a dark twist on the original. It turns out to be more and better than any of those things. It’s fun and sometimes very funny to see the new spirit Faye breathes into her Jane Eyre-ish character. But it’s also elegantly written, in a style true to the era, just infused with a bit more modern sensibility and wry wit.
Note: I received a free advance reviewing copy of Jane Steele from the publisher, through Amazon's Vine program. Versions of this review may appear on Amazon, Goodreads, BookLikes and other reviewing sites, under my usernames there.
Image sources: goodreads.com, quotesgramcom.