A Breathe of Eyre
by Eve Marie Mont
(Cover from Goodreads)
I’m not really sure why I bought this book. It was a Kindle Deal of the Day, but I bought it before I ever read Jane Eyre. I waited until I read the classic before diving into this one. That said, I read it in one sitting (and stayed up until 5am doing so!).
This book has both good and bad points.
At first, I loved the character. A typical outsider, Emma loves to read, has few friends, and is socially awkward. A true loner with really no friends, I was interested to see how the novel would play out. However, within the first few pages, she suddenly has a love interest and two new best friends who stick with her through thick and thin. Great for the character, but not very realistic. She is today’s heroine, the girl every little girl wants to be, who magically finds best friends and acceptance with little effort.
In fact, there is a great deal of suspension of disbelief in this novel. A lot of it is highly unlikely (how many high schoolers do you know who almost drown, get struck by lightning, get knocked unconscious in a burning stable while trying to save horses, and then almost die saving a friend from an attempted suicide, all in one year’s time? Yes, all of this does happen in this novel.) Plus, this is yet another tale written about a girl in boarding school where the boarding school sounds a little unreal.
Yet, if you can get past all of that, it’s actually a pretty good book. In spite of how unrealistic Emma is, she is pretty lovable. She has great internal conversations and she grows as a character, finding courage both through her friend Michelle and her adventures being transported into her new favorite book,
Yes, this lucky little girl does indeed get transported inside her favorite book, but what happens there is a great (perhaps not so) new take on a beloved classic.
Which leads me to the only point about this book that actually ticks me off: if Charlotte Bronte were alive, I’m pretty sure she would sue for copyright infringement. While Mont has re-written the story from Emma’s perspective of being trapped inside her novel, once Emma starts to lose track of herself and truly become Jane, Mont is basically just retelling entire chunks of
I, having read through that story once (in the much better written original version), decided I didn’t really want to read those sections again, so I skimmed. Perhaps the retelling is necessary for readers who haven’t read
, but really, who would read a novel entitled
A Breathe of Eyre
if they haven’t read
? It seems sort of like cheating to me and looks sort of like plagiarism. I mean, if this was written for a creative writing course I was teaching, I would probably fail her for using so much straight from the original. Not okay.
But, if you skip those parts and accept the suspension of disbelief, it’s actually a great young adult novel. A great protagonist, a rocky romance, and family secrets—it includes all the makings of a great weekend read for when you need to relax. This is my version of a guilty pleasure kind of book and, in spite of the aforementioned weaknesses, I’ll probably read it again.
And, if you’re a fan of
, so should you.
I give it 4/5 stars.
A Breathe of Eyre
is apparently one of a series. I haven’t read the others, but it seems that in the second novel, she finds herself in
The Scarlet Letter
and in the third novel, in
Phantom of the Opera
. I’m sort of tied between wanting to
this character falling into her favorite books all the time and being glad that I don’t have to deal with the drama of being stuck in these particular books!