Friday, April 6, 2012

Review: A Breathe of Eyre

A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont
Release: March 27, 2012

Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. 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…

Let me say, first off, that Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite novels. So when I saw that Eve Marie Mont was writing a YA novel about a young girl who gets sucked into Jane's Gothic World, I had to get my hands on a copy. And I did.

A Breath of Eyre is about Emma, a reclusive 16-year-old teenager. When she's given a copy of Jane Eyre for her birthday, Emma is immediately drawn to the story and character. Like Jane, she is quiet and reclusive. Like Jane, she's quite inexperienced with love. When she gets struck by lightning and is sucked right into the book, though, things begin to change...

Emma, in a sense, becomes Jane. She learns from her in a way I believe all young readers should learn from books.  She's come to understand what it means to forgive and free oneself from the heavy weight of guilt. I also thought that the way Eve Marie Mont changed the story arc of Jane Eyre was bold and refreshing. It taught me to look at the novel in a very, very different light. I don't think I will see Bertha in the same way again, and that's all thanks to Ms. Mont.

The similarities in story arc was interesting as well. Emma has a crush on her school's English teacher (a good many years older than her) and he becomes Mr. Rochester. Blanche Ingram is portrayed by the school vixen. And a certain guy that Emma grows to love holds a pretty dark secret (ala Mr. Rochester).

Eve Marie Mont also created a cast of character that I now adore and can't wait to see in the next two Installments. I completely related to Emma, and her banters with Gray (local bad boy/childhood playmate) were quite amusing. I love them both. However, the most compelling character (for me) was Michelle . She's Emma's roommate, but also far more outspoken and more "rowdy", with some baggage of her own. Michelle felt very, very real. 

I only have two concerns. The "second" part of Emma's emersion into Jane Eyre's world seemed rushed to me. The last concern has to do with the next two books. How many times will Emma get "knocked out" before it becomes too unbelievable? Don't get me wrong. I love, love, LOVE A Breathe of Eyre. And I'm sure I'll love A Touch of Scarlet and A Phantom Enchantment. I'm just hoping that Mont can come up with some creative ways to draw Emma back into the world of books. 

This book is really great for anyone--Jane Eyre fans or not. And thank you Eve Marie Mont for such a fantastic read!

Rating: 4.5 Slices 

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