Reader, I murdered him. Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked - but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors. A fugitive navigating London's underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate's true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household's strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him - body, soul and secrets - and what if he discovers her murderous past?
This book gets advertised as 'What if Jane Eyre was a serial killer?' and while there are parallels to Jane Eyre and will appeal to lovers of the book and of a somewhat morbid humour, 'serial killer' isn't the right word to describe Jane. And this is exactly where I had some issues with the book: from today's viewpoint, only one or two of Jane's killings can really be classified as murder (and even those only just so), the others would be cases of manslaughter, accidents and also cases of self-defense (or defense of others).
Now, of course, this book isn't set in the present and back then most judges wouldn't have cared for the exact circumstances but it never crosses Jane's mind that she would be dead if she hadn't acted in the way she did. She just always refers to herself as a murderer and a horrible person. Again, you might blame the morals of those days on it but I would have wished for at least a few sparks of 'Well I'd be dead if I hadn't killed him' even if those thoughts had ended in 'But it doesn't matter. I took someone's life and the church/society says this is wrong and therefore I am a bad person.'
Eventually, somebody else tells her this and she then accepts it very quickly, which would have been more believable if she'd had thought about this herself before.
Now I really wish I could talk about why I love this book at least three times as much as I have talked about the problem I had with one aspect of it because I did love it. It was funny, the chemistry between Jane and Mr Thronfield is glorious. The supporting cast is amazing (basically, I want novels about all of them because they are so interesting and I'd love to learn more about them). But somehow I always find it much harder to talk about what I liked than about what I disliked, so don't let my complaints stop you from reading (and hopefully enjoying) this book yourself. I do not feel that I'm nitpicking when I'm talking about this issue since it's not a small thing, but it's also just one thing, while I found everything else done brilliantly.
So: read the book! Do it!