Monday, March 29, 2010

Hornfield Hall...get it? Get it?

As promised, I want to say a few words about this book. I discovered after reading it that this was yet another book that began it's life as Fanfic and ended up getting published as part of a trilogy. I had little hints here and there but for the most part it was written fairly well that it didn't bother me.

The part I feel like the writer got right was Rochester's self-loathing and internal struggle. Part of the appeal of this character has always been his dark, thoughtful, somewhat obsessive nature. And for the first part of the book it goes along swimmingly with the original text. Our hero is brooding, haunted by his past and despairing for his future. The first few chapters were so well written I was ready to sit down and call this one of the best books ever. I thought the fact that he was immediately attracted to Jane was a little bit of a break from the text, but was willing to go along with it. UNTIL...

**spoiler alert**

There is a superfluous scene in which he spies on Jane playing piano and writing a song about him, and they sort of make out by the fire. Call it "intense hugging". I was a bit taken aback and think I said "Okaaaaaay" before reading on. Then comes the night when she saves him from the fire. Rather than going back to her room like a good Victorian governess would, they MAKE OUT!  And the making out and "close calls" continue throughout the book. Don't get me wrong, they aren't quite as smutty as they could be, but at the same! The great thing about Jane Eyre is that Jane does the right thing, the hard thing, in spite of her passionate nature. Our Jane would never be making out on a bearskin rug with her Employer if she happens to love him or not!

Then comes the confusing, and I think a tad unnecessary derivations from the time line and original plot of Jane Eyre.  When Mason shows up at the Thornfield house party, Jane is already gone to Gateshead Hall. Instead of finding St. John, Mary & Diana Rivers by providence, Jane is introduced to them through a lawyer. There are a lot of instances like this where I finally came to peace with the notion that this book was not for the Jane Eyre purist (or even the diehard fan).

I did enjoy Mr. Rochester's sensual side, his darkly romantic musings, and his heart-to-heart conversations with his good friend Eshton. I also was more interested in the book's take on Bertha, showing her and Edward as both being victims of their father's greed. The Squee noted that there was a definite nod to Wide Sargasso Sea in this book, and I agree as far as the portrayal of Bertha goes there was. Also shown in a different light is Blanche Ingram. Instead of being a puppet for Rochester to inspire Jealousy, she is a coldly calculating woman with a total absence of heart or conscience. And her Dad is super creepy. 

The book is peppered with descriptions of food, and at one point Rochester and Eshton are comparing women to food and one of them remarks "Now I'm Hungry". I had to laugh out loud at that.  They eat, smoke, and Drink (capital 'd' because that's how much they drink) in such excess I felt like I had a hangover just from reading about it.

Would I recommend this book? Sure, if you can look at it as an alternative story from the original. It's definitely sexy, and I probably will read the next 2 books because even a slightly different Rochester is still pretty hot.


Sleep Goblin said...

but hey, the cover? i love it. i will read a book solely on the cover (which has been both surprisingly successful, and shockingly awful). sounds like this one would have been somewhere in between.

Traxy said...

Great review! Seems like we have very similar thoughts about it. :)

I absolutely agree with you, the beginning was incredible. I really thought I had found the best book I could ever have wished for. But the piano scene was odd and then it just went downhill from there. Like you say, the great thing about the original is that Jane does the right thing, even if she's really tempted. Where did Jane the sexkitten come from?! That's one of the problems I have with fanfic, that the people who write it haven't understood the characters' personalities properly. She might've hit Rochester more or less on the head, but Jane is really wide off the mark.

Thanks for linking! :)