Author: Tina Connolly
Length: 304 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.
It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.
When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.
Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey.
Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.
Here again is a case of a great premise that gets lost in execution. What could have been a very unique story translates into a thinly veiled reworking of Jane Eyre involving fey.
Everything and I do man everything about this story is out of Jane Eyre.
1. Protagonist is named Jane Eliot.
2. Protagonist is hired to be governess to the child of a rich reclusive man.
3. Said man and protagonist develop ill fated love.
A great deal of the book is spent with Jane pining for the life that she could have had, had she not been injured in the Great War with the fey. Along with said pining readers are also given a "woe is me" diatribe about how society now considers her and those like her, "ironskins" to be the lowst of the low.
There is more pining and such when Jane is hired to work for the elusive Mr. Rochart, as governess to his fey touched daughter, Dorie.
As time passes, just as it does in Jane Eyre, the focus shifts from Jane and Dorie to Jane and Mr. Rochard. (Here is the part where the secrets start.)
Gratefully, at about 65% in, the book shifts from Jane's story to that of her benefactor. He and his story prove to be the best parts of the story. It is here that the part of the story that is all fey and not so much recycled Eyre is allowed to show through.
It turns out that the last 35% of the book is where all the best parts of the book are. Love, possessions, battles for mortal souls, and revelations abound.
This book is an example of what happens when there is not enough original follow through on a very original idea.
Better luck in book two.
Better luck in book two.