cover image Jane Steele: A Confession

Jane Steele: A Confession

Lyndsay Faye. Putnam, $26.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-399-16949-6

Set in Victorian England, this intriguing tribute to Jane Eyre from Edgar-finalist Faye (The Gods of Gotham), reimagines Charlotte Brontë’s heroine as a killer. “Of all my many murders, committed for love and for better reasons, the first was the most important,” the eponymous narrator notes in the captivating opening. That killing was in self-defense, Jane explains after admitting she has ambivalent feelings about Jane Eyre, which she has read over and over again. At age nine, Jane fights off the advances of her creepy 13-year-old cousin, Edwin Barbary, who winds up at the bottom of a ravine with a broken spine. She succeeds in selling Edwin’s subsequent death as an accident, but her aunt ships her off to a Dickensian boarding school, run by a sadistic headmaster who puts his charges through a daily reckoning that ends with most of them going without food. The arresting narrative voice is coupled with a plot that Wilkie Collins fans will relish. Author tour. Agent: Erin Malone, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.)