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Jane Steele Paperback – March 14, 2017
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Nominated for a Macavity Award--Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Novel
Part of NPR’s Guide to 2016’s Great Reads
An Amazon Best Book of 2016 So Far (June, 2016)
“Witty and exquisitely plotted, this is such a delectable treat ‘tis a pity it has to end.”
“[Jane Steele’s] crimes are wonderfully entertaining.”
—The New York Times Book Review
"An entertaining riff on Jane Eyre...sheer mayhem meets Victorian propriety."
"Jane Eyre gets a dose of Dexter. In a story that's equal parts romance, thriller, and satire, the Brontë heroine is made over into a fighter with a shadowy past."
“A thrill ride of a novel. A must read for lovers of Jane Eyre, dark humor, and mystery.”
“Delectable…Bronte fans and unfamiliar readers alike will be sucked into Jane's rich story, filled with love and secrets a plenty. This book will take you on a dark and unforgettable journey.”
“Jane Steele is the hard-edged Jane Eyre you never knew you wanted…A Jane Eyre for our age, with a heroine who can wield both a knife and a well-placed insult. That her crimes are endearing instead of alienating is both a tribute to Faye’s deceptively charming style and to Jane’s sturdy yet pliant moral code. Who could begrudge a few casualties when you’re having this much fun?”
“This book scratched all my favorite itches: Victoriana, feminist rage, and excellent, gut-punch sentences. You’ll love this Jane just as much as you love the original.”
"Faye’s skill at historical mystery was evident in her nineteenth-century New York trilogy, but this slyly satiric stand-alone takes her prowess to new levels. A must for Brontë devotees; wickedly entertaining for all."
—Booklist (starred review)
“Young Jane Steele’s favorite book, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, mirrors her life both too little and too much…In an arresting tale of dark humor and sometimes gory imagination, Faye has produced a heroine worthy of the gothic literature canon but reminiscent of detective fiction.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“Let’s be honest here. When I was sent an advanced readers’ copy of JANE STEELE, which was billed as an historical crime novel with a Jane-Eyre-style heroine who becomes a serial killer, I thought someone was pulling my leg. I decided to read ten pages, just to annoy myself as I’m often inclined to do. Also, to show what a good sport I am. I was hooked by page five and read my way through at a merry clip. I loved this book! The language rings true, the period details are correct. Jane Steele is a joy, both plucky and rueful in her assessment of her dark deeds. The plotting is solid and the pacing sublime. If this were a series, this would be the perfect introduction. As a stand-alone, I give it an A+”
—Sue Grafton, #1 New York Times–bestselling author
"This is a wonderfully wicked book. The deadly first chapter actually made me gasp. Jane Steele is a character you will not soon forget. Great evil fun!"
—R.L. Stine, author of Goosebumps and Fear Street
Lyndsay Faye pulls off the most elusive feat of historical fiction: to give us a book that reads as though it was unearthed from a perfectly preserved antique chest. Sneakily charming and wildly well written, like Faye's other novels JANE STEELE demands attention.
—Matthew Pearl, New York Times–bestselling author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer
"I’ve just read the next best thing…Enhanced by truly original and poetic turns of phrase...throughout its compelling narrative, Jane Steele pleas for a comfortable chair, a crackling fireplace, and an ideal adult beverage to guarantee a thoroughly pleasurable winter evening."
--Otto Penzler, Owner of The Mysterious Bookshop
“JANE STEELE is lethal good fun! In Jane, Lyndsay Faye has created a heroine unwilling to suffer tyrants or fools. The result is a darkly-humorous, elegantly-crafted story of an "accidental" vigilante. A delicious read.”
--Suzanne Rindell, author of The Other Typist
"Enchanting. JANE STEELE is beautifully rendered and utterly captivating, from the first cry of "reader, I murdered him" to its final pages. Lyndsay Faye is a masterful storyteller, and this is her finest tale yet."
—Maria Konnikova, New York Times–bestselling author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes
"JANE STEELE is the book I never knew I always wanted to read. Gripping, twisty, and fiendishly clever, JANE STEELE picks you up by the throat and never lets you go, taking you on an exhilaratingly wild ride. I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in ages--the only thing it left me wanting was MORE Jane Steele!"
—Deanna Raybourn, New York Times–bestselling author of A Curious Beginning
"From the gasp-inducing moment Jane Steele utters the words "reader, I murdered him", you know you are in for a rollicking romp of an adventure that recasts the Jane Eyre story in an entirely new light. But mixed in with the verve and vivacity is a story of real heart, exemplary, near-forgotten history, and an utterly unforgettable heroine. Brava to Lyndsay Faye for what's already one of my favorite thrillers of the year."
—Sarah Weinman, editor of Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s
“Add Jane Steele to that club of unforgettable antiheroes—Tom Ripley, Hannibal Lecter, and Dexter Morgan—who do dreadful things to bad people. Bold, inventive, and charmingly wicked, this instantly addictive novel pays homage to Jane Eyre while being wholly original. Lyndsay Faye has created a masterpiece.”
—Hilary Davidson, Anthony Award–winning author of Blood Always Tells
“Jane Steele is a bold and imaginative undertaking — wickedly entertaining and exquisitely unique in its execution…With thrills, mystery and romance, the story is striking and imaginative as we see how Brontë’s Jane Eyre gives meaning to Jane’s acts. Dark, satirical humor coupled with sharp dialogue make this a novel that’s refreshingly compelling.”
—USA Today (Happily Ever After blog)
“Hand to my heart, this book positively made me swoon…JANE STEELE is an homage to Jane Eyre, yet infinitely better, since Jane Steele is no one’s victim; she bends life to her will instead of drifting along according to fate’s whimsy…Jane is a thrilling protagonist…I wish that I could read this again for the first time—but I’ve no doubt it will be just as good when I read it for the third and fourth times.”
“For anyone who read "Jane Eyre" wishing for swifter, more final fates for the cruelest characters, Jane Steele is here to grant your wishes…a fresh and imaginative takeoff on "Jane Eyre," and will leave readers with plenty of fodder for discussion.”
“[Faye’s] writing crackles with wit, conveying a hip 21st-century sensibility while remaining true to Brontë’s vision…and her historical research and thoughtfully drawn characters make “Jane Steele” a compelling page-turner.”
“Faye hasn't embarked on a retelling of Brontë's masterwork, or anyone else's, for that matter. Her novel pays homage to the greats, yet offers a heroine whose murky past and murderous present remind us that some female behavior in other eras never made it into print…The satisfaction in this novel is its conviction that the self is enriched by an understanding of others, whether their motives are villainous or amicable.”
“A beautifully written, thoroughly engaging and brilliantly satirical novel…Jane Steele is an extraordinary, likeable narrator, and Faye’s other characters are just as memorable. The sharp and tragic Mr. Thornfield gives Bronte’s Mr. Rochester a run for his money. This book, whether you’re trying to puzzle out the mysteries or just lapping up Faye’s brilliant humor, is an excellent homage to Bronte and simply a treasure on its own.”
—New York Daily News
“A smart satirical gothic romance that plays as much to Charlotte Brontë's fans as Edgar Allan Poe's… Flushed with humour and humors, this novel is a hoot. I laughed not only at Jane's audacity as a character…but also the author's accomplishments skillfully mashing up a modern serial killer novel with a 19th-century novel of manners.”
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
*Cosmo.com's 15 Perfect Beach Reads for 2016*
*One of New York Post's Must Read Books for the Summer 2016*
Selected as one of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Best Books of 2016
Selected as one of the Los Angeles Public Library’s Best Books of 2016
“Lyndsay Faye give us all the pomp and circumstance of an old English novel, but her murderous twists turn the genre on its head in way that’s sarcastic and satisfying.” –Southern Living
About the Author
Lyndsay Faye is the author of five critically acclaimed books: Dust and Shadow; The Gods of Gotham, which was nominated for an Edgar for Best Novel; Seven for a Secret; The Fatal Flame; and Jane Steele. Faye, a true New Yorker in the sense she was born elsewhere, lives in New York City with her husband, Gabriel.
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Another thing this is *not* is a book about a "serial killer". While Jane Steele does commit multiple homicides during her first 24 years of life, she does not, by any stretch of the imagination, fit the serial killer definition of a person who commits multiple murders "usually in service of abnormal psychological gratification." (Wikipedia definition.) Our Jane here is no psychopath. Or if she is, then so am I, because I cheered her on with every murder she committed.
Bronte's Jane is told at every opportunity by various characters of the book that she is "evil". Faye's Jane is not told that. Faye's Jane, however, believes herself to be evil and that is perhaps more devastating to her identity than being accused by others of evilness. But this is not a book to describe. This is a book to read and feel. I loved spending time with this protagonist. Every moment of her life, from a young girl losing her mother, to her time spent at Lowan Bridge School, to her escape from said school to spend years surviving on the "mean streets" of London, to her move to Highgate House (her old home) as governess to the ward of brooding ex-soldier/medical doctor in India Charles Thornfield. At Highgate House she is embroiled in a mystery involving the East India Company and a missing treasure and is surrounded by a household of fascinating Sikh characters who had moved from India along with Thornfield.
This is a very complete and entertaining read. Part psychological study, part romance, part mystery, with excellent, well-developed characters. Some of the secondary and incidental ones are quite unsavory. Some quite exemplary. All add to the richness of the read. I had not expected to like this when I read descriptions of the book such as "Jane Eyre meets Dexter" or "Jane Eyre reimagined as a serial killer" but those descriptions do not reflect the book's content at all, IMO. Well, just read it and decide for yourself.
This book is great. I finished it in two sittings, because I had to sleep. The characters are well flushed out and interesting. Even the Villians are multi-layered. Our anti-heroine is amazing. She is likable even when you are judging her at the same time. The history that went into the telling of this story is rich and vibrant. You can picture how terrible the wars were and how it affected the men who survived.
If I had one complaint about the story, it would be the glossing over of her transition from teenager to adult. It was rushed. There were a few characters that we briefly met and a murder, but all of it seemed like it got edited out except the bare bones. I wish they would have expanded on this and made the novel longer, or just cut it out completely. It was a wasted opportunity.
I would absolutely recommend this book to all my friends!
The writing is clear and compelling. The main character, Jane Steele, has read and reread "Jane Eyre" and is aware of some of the parallels in their stories, though Jane S's story is rougher and more realistic, with more violence and sex (though not too much of either). As the story unwinds, the reader's understanding of her character becomes clearer and clearer, and while I wouldn't say the character evolves, her own understanding of herself does.
Take a chance on it - I don't think you'll regret it.
The first half is riveting and the events and circumstances surrounding this unique little girl compel you to forego your "to do list" you originally had planned as you must find out what happens next!
The second half turned into more of a historical romance type book. There is still some suspense but the overwhelming focus is two people obviously in love being able to overcome circumstances and mostly themselves to admit and come together. I'm not a historical romance type fan however the author keeps enough thrill and suspense to please most every reader.
I would definitely recommend as following the path of a special little girl, with a somewhat mystical french mother with possible mental issues, a widowed aunt who seems to loathe her and her mother and a cousin who is somewhat entirely too interested in her and oversteps society's boundaries is only the very beginning of this page turner. THAT is just the very beginning!
You will fall in love with the students at a boarding school and gasp as our heroine faces a variety of characters and actions.The next more bizarre than the previous!
You will hold your breathe more than once while reading this one. Even more importantly, you will ponder how far YOU would go for the people you love.
I enjoyed Jane Steele very much.