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Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan Hardcover – September 18, 2012
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“Not only is it wildly entertaining and more swoon-worthy and tastefully erotic than Fifty Shades of Grey or any of its knock-offs, but also, Jane has heart and soul. If you are looking for a stellar historical romance and adventure story, Jane should definitely sit on your bookshelf. It has charming and fascinating characters and sociopath villains who scare the living daylights out of you. Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan has positively reinvented the beloved couple for the modern age.” ―The Huffington Post
“Jane is a triumph! A triumph of imagination, adventure, and character. Here we have the true ‘missing link' that we've always wanted--Jane's side of the story.” ―Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth I
“Finally an honest portrayal of the only woman of whom I have been really, really jealous. What a wonderful idea to write this book. Now I am jealous all over again!” ―Jane Goodall PhD, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, UN Messenger of Peace
“With riveting action and suspense, earthy humor, a piquant look at the debate over evolution, and the love between heroic, resourceful, and tender Tarzan and smart, strong, and passionate Jane, this is lush and satisfying entertainment.” ―Booklist, starred review
“Excitement, danger, labyrinths, pyramids, treasure, and volcanoes abound, as Jane and Tarzan learn to trust and love each other.” ―Library Journal
“Jane Goodall and Isak Dinesen would be right at home with Miss Jane Porter. A respectful, exciting and disarming update of one of the last century's most oft-told tales.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Authentic and compelling, Jane was a book I couldn't put down. Robin Maxwell's talented storytelling ability brought these fabulous characters to life for me. Don't miss this unique and thoroughly enjoyable book!” ―Brenda Novak, New York Times bestselling author of In Close
“My Dad, John Coleman Burroughs, and my Grandad, Edgar Rice Burroughs, would often discuss Tarzan's relation to Jane. `Now there is an idea for a good book....one that really brings Jane into focus,' Grandad would say. Robin Maxwell's book does this brilliantly. Not only do Tarzan and Jane transform into a living, breathing couple who bring the Tarzan saga to new life, but the thrills and adventure leap off the page in the grand tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs himself.” ―John R. Burroughs, Grandson of Edgar Rice Burroughs
About the Author
ROBIN MAXWELL is the national bestselling author of eight historical fiction novels featuring powerful women, including Signora da Vinci and the award-winning Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, now in its twenty-fourth printing. She lives in the high desert of California with her husband, yogi Max Thomas.
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This is not so much an origin story but an origin "of the" story and as such was free to deviate from the original ERB story in places. There are a couple of damning reviews that raise a number of arguments about the book that I don't agree are problems with the story but if you are a dyed in the wool Tarzan lover they might cause you to be concerned. I do take issue with one description of Tarzan in this version as "whiny" which I do not at all agree with. Once you accept that he was raised by his human parents to the age of four (instead of one as in the original story) the idea of repressed memories and a more complicated relationship to these memories makes some sense. Plus even the original Tarzan showed a great range of emotion including very demonstrative grief when his ape mother was killed. He was never the grunting monosyllabic character of the old b&w movies. In this version Tarzan hits almost all of the major milestones you might expect, killed a big cat with only a knife, fighting multiple men at once barehanded, and most importantly killing Kerchak the ape-king with his bare hands. Similar to Farmer this author establishes that these are not truly apes but pre-human missing links or near cousins which allows them to have a more complex language and society then they otherwise would have as true apes.
Finally I agree with the reviewer who laments that a sequel is being set up by the way the book ends. But that particular sequel is not needed, ERB created any number of stories that cover those years, the sequel I believe Robin Maxwell should create is the one Burroughs never did, the one near or at the end of Tarzan's life. If we accept the premise that this story is the 'true' story of a life that was fictionalized by Burroughs then Tarzan never receives a potion from a witch doctor he saves that gives him eternal youth. Therefore he and Jane will grow old and die. I would be fascinated as to how a talented writer who loved the characters would handle that story.
Nevertheless, the novel is enjoyable and fun, even clever in parts. Maxwell has produced a much better treatment of the story than I ever could (my own fiction working of an African adventure appears in my novel MICHAEL DEAL), so I’m glad I read it and am pleased to add it to my Tarzan library.
But some final nit-picking: I was surprised to find so many errors in grammar, diction, and usage. Jane, the narrator, is relating events from 1905; and she make mistakes in usage that, though common today among the rank and file, an educated Victorian-era woman probably wouldn’t make. For example, neither the author nor her copyeditors seem aware that in standard American English the possessive case precedes a gerund, yet we repeatedly encounter phrases such as “if you don’t mind me jumping around” and “by us speaking of him” and “I could not imagine him boarding without me” (should be “my,” “our,” and “his,” respectively)—though, curiously, she does use the correct construction in one place (p. 103) when she has Cecily Fournier say, “I hope you don’t mind my saying.” She also gets the pronominal case wrong in such phrases as “me with my manly chores,” “me with my heart in my throat” (in both instances, the pronoun should be “I”) and “he on a ledge below, me scrambling for his pistol” (she gets the “he” right, then switches to “me” instead of “I”). Or how about “there’s nobody better than me to get you home” and D’Arnot saying "mon amis" when he means "mes amis"? She mistakenly uses “enormity” to refer to size, apparently doesn’t know the difference between “like” and “as,” and indulges in such redundancies as “continue on” and “separate out.” To be honest, however, these infelicities of language seem to appear more and more in publications today; apparently, many of our current copyeditors are not too meticulous about nuance.
The author did a magnificent job writing not only the plot line, but also the characters. Although more mature than initially thought, (Note: I'm accustomed to teen/young adult novels) the author went about writing certain situations rather tastefully overall. One thing that this story does very well is it goes into what it would've been like to be feminist to an extent in a time period where that was not a concept to take seriously. To put a woman in a role such as the leader of an African expedition would've been as laughable as to say the world was round during the time of the Vikings and Romans. The author did an excellent job in illustrating the possible interactions between the male characters and a woman who practically thrusted herself into a men's field. I would definitely read other stories from this author if given the chance.
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