Published August 2021 by Amazon Publishing
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review
Publisher's Summary:Jane has lost everything: job, mother, relationship, even her home. A friend calls to offer an unusual deal—a cottage above the crashing surf of Big Sur on the estate of his employer, Evan Rochester. In return, Jane will tutor his teenage daughter. She accepts.
But nothing is quite as it seems at the Rochester estate. Though he’s been accused of murdering his glamorous and troubled wife, Evan Rochester insists she drowned herself. Jane is skeptical, but she still finds herself falling for the brilliant and secretive entrepreneur and growing close to his daughter.
And yet her deepening feelings for Evan can’t disguise dark suspicions aroused when a ghostly presence repeatedly appears in the night’s mist and fog. Jane embarks on an intense search for answers and uncovers evidence that soon puts Evan’s innocence into question. She’s determined to discover what really happened that fateful night, but what will the truth cost her?
I'm not, as a general rule, a fan of retellings or spinoffs of books that I love but as it was the Spring-Into-Horror readathon, I figured a book about a ghost that also happened to have a tie to one of my favorite books would work perfectly.
What Worked For Me:
- Marcott has brought a lot of the elements of Jane Eyre to this retelling - an orphan who travels to be a teacher for a mysterious man's young daughter, a first meeting between the girl and the man that results in the man being knocked off his trusty ride (here a motorcycle instead of a horse), a mad wife and her brother who tries to make Jane believe Rochester is a terrible man, and a gothic atmosphere with dense fog and ghostly apparitions.
- I was kept guessing throughout the book, even though I assumed that I knew what the final answer would be regarding Rochester's guilt. Still, the final reveal was a surprise. And Marcott managed to throw in some things that were red herrings for me, even if she didn't mean them to lead me astray (that's just how my mind started working while reading this book).
- I liked Jane - she understood how to relate to Rochester's daughter, she had devoted friends, she was willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, and she wanted to be able to make her own way in the world.
What Didn't Work For Me:
- Jane's family has some secrets that have been kept from her for most of her life. But it felt unnecessary to me to have it revealed throughout the book. There was enough going on already.
- The chapter's alternate between Jane's story and Beatrice's story of the last day of her life with flashback's to her life. Beatrice's story line seems to be a nod to Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea, itself a takeoff from Jane Eyre which tells the story of Rochester's first wife. I liked the idea of paying homage to both books. Unfortunately, Beatrice's story didn't entirely work for me.
- Rochester was not a good guy on a number of levels and I had a hard time with the ending of the book because of it. He's done some things that I felt like Jane would not have been able to overlook. In the end of Jane Eyre, I'm able to forgive Rochester. Here I had a harder time which made it harder to be happy for Jane.
I'd give this one 3.5 stars, if I gave stars, a solid read that gave me a good mystery and took me away from real life in just the way I needed.