Lyndsay Faye has done a beautiful job in her novel Jane Steele. From the minute the spine is cracked on this gripping tale, a satirical murderous journey through romance, guilt, fear, and understanding is commenced. A journey that will keep you glued to the pages anxiously awaiting the next twisted turn.

Horror movies have gripped my attention ever since my earliest experience with the genre. The thrill, suspense, mystery, intrigue, and humor of them has always peeked an interest. Yes, the humor, of them. Sweeney Todd is a fine example of comedic-horror. As I have alway had a great love affair with Tim Burton and Sweeny Todd, you will certainly understand my thrill in discovering a book that merits comparison.

Discussion on this topic with a dear friend generated an interesting question. One which evoked certain self reflections. He asked me, “ Do you actually think Sweeny Todd is funny? If yes, please explain.” To which my initial response was, of course there is humor to be found in Sweeny Todd. The plot is completely over the top, and the storyline is littered with inappropriate humor and ironies. However, my friend’s inquiry made me realize that not everyone shares my opinion on the matter. Therefore I’m sure not everyone will share my opinion of this book.

Jane Steele is an over the top story about a woman born into unhappy circumstances. As a character Jane is a quick-witted serial killer consumed with shame, searching for companionship, but existing in a self created world of isolation in order to conceal her dark secrets.

In Lindsay Faye’s novel we meet Jane and take a stroll through her childhood mind. We experience the lost innocence of a child’s perception of her mother and the world in which she resides. We see how one action can change the course of a life. We are able to watch clarity of the world grow with Jane, much as it does for all of us as we gain years and experience.

Lyndsay takes us to a cruel and obscene boarding school. A school inspired by the Cowen Bridge School referenced in Jane Eyre, a literary classic guilty of influencing much of this story. Here Lyndsay exposes the extra lengths those with malice and power will go to protect their sins from judgements eye. Later we witness the effects of alcoholism in a domestic situation through the eyes of teenage women. We are shown the fears faced by a prostitute with a young daughter.

As the story progresses, we follow Jane back to where it all began when she takes the job as a governess at age twenty-four. Here Lindsay introduces us to an unexpected household full of surprises, secrets, compassion, and acceptance.

I sincerely hope that you will find yourself compelled to embark upon the journey Lindsay Faye has created for us. Jane Steele is a wonderful character who’s story will steal your attention all the way to the end. If you do, please click here and like this page to show your love! Lindsay Faye is also the author of Dust and Shadow, The Gods of Gotham, and Seven for a Secret. All of which I hope to add to my list of future vacations.

imageMegan Groff

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