A Modern Reimagining of Jane Eyre
From the publisher:
This powerful reimagining of Jane Eyre, set in a modern-day law firm, is full of romance and hope as it follows the echoing heartbeats of the classic story.
A former foster kid, Jane has led a solitary life as a waitress in the suburbs, working hard to get by. Tired of years of barely scraping together a living, Jane takes classes to become a legal assistant and shortly after graduating accepts a job offer at a distinguished law firm in downtown Toronto. Everyone at the firm thinks she is destined for failure because her boss is the notoriously difficult Edward Rosen, the majority stakeholder of Rosen, Haythe & Thornfield LLP. But Jane has known far worse trials and refuses to back down when economic freedom is so close at hand.
Edward has never been able to keep an assistant—he’s too loud, too messy, too ill-tempered. There’s something about the quietly competent, delightfully sharp-witted Jane that intrigues him though. As their orbits overlap, their feelings begin to develop—first comes fondness and then something more. But when Edward’s secrets put Jane’s independence in jeopardy, she must face long-ignored ghosts from her past and decide if opening her heart is a risk worth taking.
“Fans of Jane Eyre will enjoy spotting the Easter eggs…More importantly, the love story stays faithful to the original, with the addition of some spice… Edwards’s debut is a retelling that will please both diehard Brontë devotees and contemporary romance readers.” —Library Journalhttps://amzn.to/3LLcoT3
As every English major knows, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a classic for a good reason. While I don’t love it like I love the Austen books, it is a story worth modernizing for sure, and Edwards does a superb job. She keeps all the important plot points yet manages to transform them into a contemporary romance.
Jane lost her father, a renowned professor and author, when she was barely a teenager. Her mother died when she was a baby, and as far as she knows, there is no other family. Unfortunately, her father left no will, no provisions for her or his estate. Jane ends up in foster care until she ages out at 18. Her social worker helps her find a cheap apartment and she finds a job waitressing.
Jane has overheard some co-workers discussing this program to be a legal assistant at a nearby school, and she signs up. Much to her surprise, when she finished the program she is offered a job as assistant to the top partner at a downtown Toronto white-shoe law firm. Edward Rosen has not been able to keep an assistant for more than a few weeks – he is loud, messy, ill-tempered and a bit of a bully. Jane has dealt with worse – hello, foster child here – and to Rosen’s surprise, he doesn’t make her cry or walk out. He is intrigued with his super-organized, smart assistant. That intrigue turns to something more.
Jane eventually realizes she has feelings for her boss, a definite no-no in this corporate environment, and when she finally admits her feelings to him, he reciprocates, much to her surprise. They fall into a hot and heavy romance, but it turns out Edward has a secret that ends up destroying their relationship.
If you are familiar with Jane Eyre, you will guess the secret, but I’m not telling. I really enjoyed this book; the characters are very well developed, more so Jane than Edward, and I liked the way the story played out. My only criticism is that the ending seemed a bit rushed to me, but maybe that was me being sorry it ended! All in all, an excellent read (especially for Jane Eyre fans) and a terrific debut. I can’t wait to see what comes next from this author. Let me add that I loved the cover of this book, too – it’s a bit different than the usual contemporary romance covers and serves the story well.
3/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
JANE & EDWARD by Melodie Edwards. Berkley (March 21, 2023). ISBN: 978-0593440773. 352 p.