When I first started reading Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye, I had a feeling that it could be a five-star quality. And sure enough, it was!
This book may very well be in my top five reads of 2017.
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
Within this book, there are three volumes which went in chronological order. I loved this organization because we were able to see what Jane’s childhood was like first, and then watched her grow as she attended a boarding school, made a life for herself in the city, and then later as she posed as a governess in her childhood home. I really enjoyed that each volume had it's own main focus (friendship, loyalty, romance), while still having a fair amount of murderous and vengeance filled situations.
I absolutely loved the beautiful classic writing style of this book. My favorite feature was the use of stunning description. For example: "...it had snowed again, and an inch of powder lay glimmering upon the grounds, awaiting the performers as the pale January sunlight bent down to kiss the top of the trees."
I also really enjoyed that throughout the book, Jane breaks the fourth wall to talk directly to the reader. Each time this occurred, I found myself grinning.
The characters are all so incredibly lovely! I admired Jane Steele right from the start, even though she was just a child. Over the course of the book, I just liked her more and more! Then later, when we met Mr. Thornfield, I absolutely adored him. The way that he speaks reminds me a bit of my boyfriend.
Jane: “I resemble no star, sir.”
Mr. Thornfield: “Well, You’ve clearly never heard of mirrors, then. I’ll teach you to use ‘em, they’re easy as anything."
I also loved the relationships between all of the main characters. At first, I loved Jane and Clarke’s relationship, then later the relationship between everyone at Highgate House; Mr. Thornfield, Sahjara, and Mr. Sardar were so lovely. Their banter seemed so realistic, like you were sitting in the room listening to them bicker with one another. I would love to read a full book that focused on their backstory!
And then we have the romance. It was so perfect. I was rooting for it from the start. And I was so anxious that it would go south… But after a certain event, I wanted to stand up and cheer! I loved that Jane Steele kept referencing Jane Eyre and pointing out where Jane Eyre had gone wrong, which prevented Jane Steele from making the same mistakes. I thought this was so clever and a joy to read.
My favorite passages:
Slowly, I recovered my appetite- and concurrently, my keen interest in rebellion.
No longer afford to be like my mother; my heart must be carried not on my sleeve but deep in my breast, where the complete darkness may mask the fact that it too was black as pitch.
Grief is a strange passenger; it rides on one's shoulder quiet as a guardian angel one moment, then sinks razor talon into one's collarbones the next.
I have learnt since that a great many people are ill intentioned and yet behave well.
Killing for love is one of the most tangled acts you can commit, reader, in an already twisted world.
I was left with an anxious feeling like tiny waves across the sea before a squall.
A man walked out the front door; he was tall and the colour of strong tea, and a tingling in my spine informed me that here was a presence which would somehow influence my life- for better or for worse, I could not say.
As is so often the case at the worst possible times, I laughed.
Augustus Sack only smiled; if a grubworm had smiled, it would have looked similar.
No weeping, I thought furiously. Thinking is more useful than weeping.
I hope that the epitaph of the human race when the world ends will be: Here perished a species which lived to tell stories.