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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review: A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont

So, let me ask you. Why is it we can see that the guy is perfect for the girl, but she can never see it herself? Perhaps it would make for a very short story. Or perhaps, a book with no tension is boring. No one wants a painting of happy little clouds, they want a painting of a tempest over the sea. As my namesake from Another Cinderella Story said, "I love drama! It's so dramatic!" It can be frustrating, though, just waiting for her to wise up and see the prince right in front of her nose. Inevitably, though, she'll do something stupid like toss him over for name jackanape not worth her time of day, or she's afraid to be dumped, so she dumps him first only to realize too late she made a mistake. The road to true love is a bumpy ride, but it is always so satisfying when it works out in the end. At least, I always hope it will work out in the end. The Way We Were and Romeo and Juliet aside, I do prefer the happy ending. It always works out, but perhaps not always the way we had envisioned. Jane Eyre is perhaps one of the greatest love stories of all time, at least that seems to be the general consensus, but I can't see it. And Mr. Rochester? Please. He stuffs his crazy wife into the attic and proceeds to woo the young, naive governess. He lies to Jane, the crazy wife sets the house on fire causing her death, he is horribly maimed in the process and they live happily ever after. Victorians. I'll take Austen to Bronte any day, but I figured I would give A Breath of Eyre a perusal in the local book shop.  It peaked my interest, not enough to actually read Jane Eyre, but still. A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont is probably the closest I am going to come to the classic.

Book Description:
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
In this stunning, imaginative novel, Eve Marie Mont transports her modern-day heroine into the life of Jane Eyre to create a mesmerizing story of love, longing, and finding your place in the world. . .
Emma Townsend has always believed in stories--the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates. Perhaps it's because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn't come close to filling the void left by her mother's death. And her only romantic prospect--apart from a crush on her English teacher--is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma's confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre. . .

Reading of Jane's isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane's body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she's never known--and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane's story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own. . .

My review:
I thought this was an interesting concept. It's not quite like The Neverending Story. The real question is does Emma really get sucked into Jane's World or does she imagine it all in her head? It is perhaps similar to one of my favorite manga / anime series, Fushigi Yugi by Yuu Watase. The main character gets sucked into a magical book. The interesting thing about Emma's journey is that when she first finds herself in Thornfield, she is very aware of the fact that she doesn't belong there. She does come to realize everyone sees her as Jane, but she retains her own sense of self and just pretends to be Jane. She does, after all, know how the story goes. However, the longer she stays in Jane's world, the more of herself she loses until she actually becomes Jane. There is also a Wizard of Oz quality about it as people she knows from her life take on the characters in the book as well. Mr. Rochester looks like her English teacher, her charge looks like the daughter of a family friend, the crazy wife in the attic also looks like someone from her life.
There is, of course, a love interest in her world, if she can take a chance on him. Gray Newman is the son of her mother's best friend and she has known him forever. The used to be friends, but became distanced from one another. He has a reputation as a player and she doesn't trust him when he seems interested in her. Emma comes with a lifetime of baggage and is one of those girls that pushes away before she can be pushed away, but realizes, perhaps too late that she might have made a mistake. Perhaps not. Which world does she choose?

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