Jane by April Lindner
I saw the cover of this book and just couldn't resist picking it up. When I saw that it was a "modern" Jane Eyre - I had to have it. Gladly I can say that this book lived up to my expectations. I love the original story and was interested to see what this one was about. The author talks about "translating" some of the issues into modern contexts in the Author's Note in the back. I thought she did a great job.
This book tells the story of a young woman named Jane Moore whose parents die in an accident while she is in her freshman year at Sarah Lawrence college. She is a smart girl, though plain, and while she does have two siblings, they are horrible to her, and being away from them is not real loss. In fact, Jane is glad not to have to see them. Unable to pay for college once her parents die (the stocks they left her were worthless...though her sister seemed to be doing ok and got some money out of the deaths), Jane gets trained to be a nanny and seeks her first job. She hopes to work and save money to eventually one day go back to school.
While applying and interviewing, she knows she is different from the other girls. They are all perky and cutely dressed while Jane is plain and dressed in a mature looking suit from Goodwill. This might have worked against her except that the agency needed a special person to fill a special nanny position. Jane cares nothing for tabloids and celebrities so the agency sends her to be a nanny for the rock star Nico Rathburn. Known for being a crazy party-hard star w/ many marriages under his belt and a history of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, Nico is sort of on a come-back tour right now. He's gruff and strange, but eventually Jane sees other sides of his personality. Add in the adorable Maddy, Nico's daughter, and a houseful of band mates, photographers, and housekeepers, and you have a wonderful backdrop for this modern retelling of a classic.
I loved Jane, and I loved Nico. I felt that they were real characters, and I enjoyed every moment they were together. Of course, knowing Jane Eyre made me anticipate their meetings even more. I was wondering all the time when they would have a nice afternoon together and when Nico would go back to his abrasive self and be mean. The love story was fun, and I really think that Lindner did a fabulous job. Readers can like this book even if they haven't read the original, but hopefully this story will lead them to read the real book to see what it's all about.