Victoria Simpson
 Okay, the last thing I posted was a scathing essay on Abelard and Heloise.  This will be better.  I'm talking about Jane by April Lindner.  Here's the blurb from her website that is on the back of the book:

"Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love? An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers."

I finished the book yesterday, and I have to admit, the girlish part of me absolutely loved it.  It's a classic romance, and I mean romance in the non-Harlequin way.  Granted, when I first started, the idea of Edward Rochester--now Nico Rathburn--being a rock star was off-putting.  Rochester is my FAVORITE Byronic hero so I'm protective.  I can see him as a moody musician, but as a rock star?  That's far-fetched for me.  Yet in the book, it kind of works.  It's still not a move I would ever make, but I was able to go with it and still enjoy the book.

The story was, of course, modern and was geared towards a younger audience.  It lacked the delightfully scrumptious language of the original, Gothic Jane Eyre.  Also, some of the symbolism was cast aside.  However, one thing I did like about it was that Lindner integrated Jane's past by using flashbacks.  It kept the pace up while still getting her back-story.   However, while I miss the more formal tones, there are definite pluses.  The first is that it does become a toned-down romance while at the same time showing a young woman becoming strong and independent.  The actual story becomes more tangible to the modern-day audience. I think this makes today's audience see the story of Jane Eyre in the clear way that the original audience saw it.  Secondly, this is a great way to introduce today's teens, primarily girls, into classic literature.  They've been eased into Jane Eyre so that they now can start on the actual book instead of reading volume upon volume about angsty vampires.  I almost think there needs to be some sort of "Classics for Young Adults" series like they do for younger children.  I think that one needs a good foundation in the classics to better understand the world of literature as a whole.  After all, books are always in dialogue with each other.

Four stars from me because I enjoyed it so darn much, though, it probably needs a 3.5.  Though, that cover is so lovely it probably pushes it back up to four stars.  Isn't it scrumptious?