ORDER A COPY: Jane Eyre Laid Bare
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publishing Date: October 30, 2012
Paperback: 336 pages
Rating: 2 stars
Everyone is familiar with Charlotte Brontë’s passionate, but restrained novel in which the plain, yet spirited governess Jane Eyre falls for the arrogant Mr. Rochester. It’s a novel that simmers with sexual tension but never quite reaches the boiling point. Which is to be expected. After all, the original was written in 1847. That was then. This is now. And in JANE EYRE LAID BARE, author Eve Sinclair writes between the lines to chart the smoldering sexual chemistry between the long-suffering governess and her brooding employer.
When an eager and curious Jane Eyre arrives at Thornfield Hall her sexual desires are awakened. Who is the enigmatic Rochester and why is she attracted to him? What are the strange, yet captivating noises coming from the attic, and why does the very air she breathes feel heavy with passion? Only one thing is certain. Jane Eyre may have arrived at Thornfield an unfulfilled and tentative woman, but she will leave a very different person.
This review is for those who are already very familiar with the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. If you have never read Jane Eyre, do yourself a favor and stop right here and go pick up a copy of Jane Eyre. This is not the book you want to start with.
I love the story of Jane Eyre. It is a very passionate story even the way it is written. My favorite production of it was the BBC presentation starting Timothy Dalton. You should have seen the happy dance I did in the store when I finally found that on DVD.
I was intrigued when I found a copy of this novel being offered on netgalley.com and I just couldn’t resist. I had just read the UStarNovels version of Pride and Prejudice and Debauchery (which I will be discussing with you next week, but in short…it was well done). Jane Eyre was a more passionate story, so my hope was that by loosening up Jane’s Quakerish corset, we could ramp up Bronte’s already passion filled story.
The only thing I ask when I read these types of modified novels is that although our innocent heroines are now getting down and dirty, that the modification makes sense and it doesn’t go against their known character. Jane having sexual dreams or fantasies or even being seduced by Mr. Rochester makes sense. If she gave the carriage driver oral sex for a smooth ride, does not (no, she doesn’t).
As far as pluses to the story, when Jane saves Mr. Rochester from his burning bed, that scene needed a kiss, and finally got one. YES!
Also, once Jane declares that she will marry Mr. Rochester, there is no waiting for the bridal march. They spend their evenings together playing parlor games. Which if you want to add sexy without stripping the characters of their basic character, this is a perfect and naturally flowing decision.
Also to add sex without sullying our heroine (too much), there is a scene where she peeps on two of the servants and a few fantasies involving Mr. Rochester. Again, it adds sexy without ruining Jane’s character. But it does lead to Jane enjoying some “alone time” which she does in overabundance. Too much information.
Plus, the book does start where Jane is riding to Thornfield Hall and we also skip the returning to Mrs. Reed’s house. So boring parts that do not involve Jane and Rochester are gone. Yeah!
The story abruptly ends when Jane leaves Rochester after the aborted wedding scene. She leaves, hops in a carriage and The End. What?? You get us that far and you end it early?? My feeling is if you didn’t want to re-write the scene with the cousins and the ending, you should have just let the now thoroughly debauched Jane go off with Rochester after all and start a new life. Disappointing!
Although the story starts when Jane comes to Thornfield, she has several flashbacks to her time at Lowood School. It appears that Jane’s time at Lowood included more girl on girl action than a Girls Gone Wild video. So much, it was way too much.
When Mr. Rochester brings his guests to Thornfield, the book went from a regency romance to a Roman orgy, including Mr. Rochester sleeping with Ms. Ingram. Rochester brought Ms. Ingram for a visit to make Jane jealous and since Jane is left out of these episodes of Caligula, Rochester having sex with Blanche Ingram goes against his character. I call foul!
The paintings throughout the house depicting naked people having sex would probably be tasteless in a brothel, let alone a fine house. This was not necessary and inappropriate.
This story is a definite pass whether or not you are a fan of Jane Eyre.
Received ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
“Good-night, then, sir,” I said, departing.
He seemed surprised – very inconsistently so, as he had just told me to go.
“What!” he exclaimed, stepping toward me, “Are you quitting me already, and in that way?”
“You said I might go, sir.”
“But not without taking leave. Not without a word or two of acknowledgment and good-will. Not, in short, in that brief, dry fashion. Why, you have saved my life! Snatched me from a horrible and excruciating death! And you walk past me as if we were mutual strangers! At least shake hands.”
He had out his hand. I gave him mine. He took it first in one, then in both his own. Then, to my astonishment, he kissed my fingertips. A ripple of desire seemed to run from the place where his lips had made contact with my flesh, right through me.
“You have saved my life, Jane. I have a pleasure in owing you so immense a debt. I cannot say more.”
He paused, gazed at me and I was drawn in, magnetized by his eyes.
“Good-night again, sir,” I said, but my voice was no more than a whisper. “You do not owe me a debt.”
“I knew,” he continued, holding my palm now against his lips, “you would do me good in some way, at some time. I saw it in your eyes when I first beheld you. Their expression and smile did not, “ again he stopped, closing in, “Did not strike delight to my very inmost heart so for nothing.”
I felt the great overcoat he had given me slide from my shoulders to the floor, but I did not feel the loss of heat, because my whole body seemed flushed with a new kind of warmth.
“I have heard of good genii and I believe there are grains of truth in the wildest fable, for you are mine. My cherished preserver.”
Strange energy was in his voice, strange fire in his look.
You are mine. His words swept into my heart, like the luxurious chord of a harp, but my reason dampened the music. ‘He cannot meant it.’ I thought.
“I am glad I happened to be awake.” I said, but my knees were trembling and weak. Closer and closer, his eyes drew me in.
Fear overtook me then. Not fear of him, but fear of myself, of the inner life I’d held privately for so long, my desire, my carnal longings, all threatening to rise to the surface and engulf me.
I quickly turned to go. I could not trust myself to stay. I would not trust myself to stare into his eyes and what they suggested.
“What? You will go?” he said, reaching out and drawing me back to him.
“I am cold, sir,” I lied.
“Cold? Yes and standing in a pool! Go then, Jane, go!”
His voice sounded as if he meant it, but he still retained my hand, and I could not free it. I looked from his grip to his eyes. They burned even brighter now.
And then he was gently pulling me towards him, as if he still expected me to take flight. In the soft, dim light of the candle, his face filled my vision.
“You cannot leave me like this,” he breathed.
I was trembling uncontrollably, but I could not pull away.
He stared down at me, drawing me further toward his warm embrace. Closer, closer he came, daring me to buckle and move away, but I as hopelessly, blissfully trapped and borne away on those dark seas I had glimpsed in his eyes for so long, leaving the shores of everything I knew to be right to sail into this un-chartered water.
Then his arms were around me and then, even before the soft gasp could leave my mouth, his lips were on mine. The simple fusion, in the split second after it had happened, seemed so obvious, that surely been destined all along. Quiet, tentative, we stood together suspended in a golden sacred moment. I knew then that I had the choice, that even now it wasn’t too late. I could break away, I could still step back onto the shore.
But I couldn’t. There was not enough reason left within me or willpower to resist him. My whole being only wanted this moment to go on and on and I surrendered to it, melting against him. Then, with a low, delicious groan, he seemed to let something go too, the sound of his surrender igniting something within me as surely as the room itself had been aflame earlier.