by Melanie M. Jeschke
Jillian Dare leaves her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and strikes out on her own as a nanny at a large country estate in northern Virginia. She is delighted with the beauty of her new home, the affection of her young charge Cadence Remington, and the opportunity for frequent travel to the Remington castle in England. She is less certain about her feelings for her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she is falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl ever hope to win a wealthy man of the world? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding? This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic Jane Eyre, will capture readers' hearts.
I love reading modern takes on Jane Eyre because I am so interested in how they will modernize so many of the old-fashioned elements of the story. Things like having a wife in the attic, being unable to divorce, the strict adherence to moral codes, and even governesses. It doesn't seem like there are alot of live-in nannies nowadays. So with this book there are alot of updates to the story that worked - mostly to do with Mr. Remington's secret and the way the mystery was suspensefully unfolded. Having Jillian come from a foster care family and one particular abusive foster parent made the bad childhood portion fit better into the modern world. On the whole, I was drawn into this novel because the changes the author made to the story were varied and inventive enough so that I didn't always know what would happen. The main characters all felt so nice, and courteous, and pleasant (Mr. Remington is really not very moody), which was in keeping perhaps with what I think is the author's Christian values. Jillian Dare is very religious and constantly appealing to God and her caring foster family (the Rivers substitutes) are rightly also very religious. Which for the story is fine and I'm sure many would like that and even see that as evident in the original novel. For myself, I felt it was a little too heavy-handed sometimes, and with the original "Jane Eyre" there is a fine balance of Jane doing what she feels is best for herself and what she feels God wants her to do. The fine line between humanism and religious dogma. I suppose I find it more interesting when a character does something based on what their core morality is rather than pulling quotes from the Bible to support their reasoning. The only real complaint I have though is that [spoiler!!!] Mr. Remington could and was going to get a divorce. I never understand why, if a divorce is imminent, Jane has to leave. (I'm looking at you Jane from the 1934 film adaptation!)