Jane by April Lindner
Published October 11th 2010 by Poppy
More at: Goodreads
"I couldn't live here with you and your new wife, and watch myself become nothing to you...because that's what would happen, and I couldn't stand it. Do you think because I'm...ordinary...that I don't have feelings?" I could hear my voice rising, carrying across the field, but for once I didn't care what the world thought of me. "Because I do have feelings, and if I were beautiful and talented and famous, I'd make it as hard for you to leave me as it is for me to leave you."
Jane's past was a tragic one even before the sudden death of both her parents. As a pale comparison to a beautiful older sister and an overly praised brother, love and happiness were never things to be found at home. With her parents' death, Jane is forced to abandon her dreams of an education and seek employment before the close of the semester leaves her homeless. When a position as a nanny is offered to Jane she is unable to say no to the income, or to the home the new job would provide- a rich, lavish home on the country estate of a world famous musician.
Nico Rathburn is an international rock sensation in the midst of planning his return to the stage. The life of a rock star is always fuel for any tabloid, and Nico's past filled with drugs, the very public end of his marriage, a bitter breakup with a rising pop star and the birth of his daughter have fanned the flame of scandal for many years.
When sensible, level headed Jane takes on the task of caring for his daughter, her straight forward honesty and practicality is just what Nico needs in his new, more somber life. Both desperately in need of real friendship and feeling, a heated romance soon develops between them. But of all the scandals Nico has been involved in over the course of his career, the newspapers have yet to discover the deep, dark secret that exists in his very home- a secret that could shock the world, finish his career and cost him Jane's love.
Whenever an author takes on the retelling of a classic, one can only imagine the fear and tension that surrounds her as she waits to see how her vision is received. She could easily offend lovers of the classic, snub the original author's vision and alienate herself (and the story) from a new generation of readers. In short, if you've read the real thing, an adaptation, poorly done, can be much more disastrous than if the author had simply written a bad original novel. Or worse it could result in that horrible American Idol moment where Simon Cowell frowns and asks why the singer couldn't be bothered to try to make the song his own or berates him for making it too closely resembling the original.
This is the apprehension I felt when I first heard about Jane but after having devoured the book in a few short hours, I can tell you that I'm just so damned proud of Lindner's work. She more than pulled it off.
Have you read Jane Eyre? If you have you know it's a dark, depressing story full of so much self loathing it makes you want to spit but it's so damned romantic and everyone is just so emotionally tortured that you LOVE IT. And while Lindner stayed remarkably close to the original story- with it's tragedy, mystery and brooding leading man, our modern Jane is the story's real hero. When faced with Nico's horrible secret and lies, she has enough sense to say to hell with this and take care of herself- more importantly, remove herself from an absolutely retched situation and let that man handle his own CRAP. She's the poster child for ever poor college student who's ever lived on ramen noodles and worked a crap job to pay for an education and I adore her for not letting her heart get in the way of just plain good sense. The romantic in me so wanted her to enjoy the love that she very desperately needed to find and the single gal in me wanted to bring her a pizza and self help books with titles like "You Don't Need That Shit" and "Don't Go Back To Him Until He is a Wrecked Pitiful Shell of a Man and Begs You."
I loved her. I loved the romance between two people who were so very much in need of real love. Even knowing what Nico's secret was, the build up and suspense was handled masterfully. I couldn't wait for the shock to come. I loved watching as Jane gained some much needed self-acceptance and was able to approach this love as a self-assured, mature woman.
But while I'm glad she got everything she deserved, between you and me, I wanted to stick my fist in Nico's eye. In his defense I wanted to stick it in River's too.