The author of the Samaria trilogy (Archangel, etc.) offers a moving, if somewhat less introspective, retelling of Jane Eyre that is sure to appeal to SF readers with a taste for romance. The product of the planet Baldus's gen-tanks, Jenna Starborn is used to a life of pain and privation. After being educated at a technical school that focuses on the growth of the mind to the exclusion of all else, Jenna accepts a job as a nuclear reactor maintenance technician at remote Thorrastone Park, owned by the wealthy Everett Ravenbeck. She becomes indispensable to the household—and to Everett. Despite their difference in stations—Jenna is only a half-citizen—they fall in love. After a long, difficult courtship made longer because of the perversity of the two principals, the two plan to marry. But at the wedding, Jenna receives a terrible shock: Everett has another wife. Unable to live with him as his wife without being married, Jenna flees to a remote planet, where she falls in with a family that provides help and aid to travelers. She's on the verge of deciding whether to marry another and go with him to colonize a new planet when she hears Everett's voice, impossibly calling from afar. Reader, need we say what happens next? Jane Eyre fans will enjoy tracking the character and plot parallels. Shinn fans will enjoy the way the author perfectly captures the tone and color of Brontë while maintaining Jenna's unique voice. Best of all, Jenna's narrative makes us feel—joy in her love, sorrow in her despair, numb in her shock. (Apr. 2)
Forecast:Unlike Jasper Fforde's satiric literary fantasy, The Eyre Affair (Forecasts, Dec. 17), this novel is targeted primarily at a female audience. Ad coverage in Romantic Times and Shinn's established reputation in the romance field will ensure plenty of crossover support.