Jane & Edward is a clever, modern reimagining of the beloved classic, Jane Eyre.
Jane & Edward by Melodie Edwards
Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Jane Eyre Reimagining, Women’s Fiction, Romance, Toronto Law Firm
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My Summary of Jane & Edward:
Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary e ARC of #JaneEdward upon my request. All opinions are my own.
This story is a reimagining of Jane Eyre set in a modern-day law firm in Toronto, Canada. It closely follows the heart of the original, classic story. In this reimagining, Jane grows up in a foster home and enjoys success as a waitress. She works hard and barely makes a living. She’s foresighted, though, and takes classes to become a legal assistant. After graduation, she accepts a job at a distinguished law firm in downtown Toronto. Unfortunately, her boss (Edward) is notoriously difficult and no one ever lasts in her position. Jane is determined and never backs down. Edward is somewhat intrigued by quiet, competent, and sharp-witted Jane. As a slow-burn romance develops, Jane must take a stand and risk everything she has achieved.
Reimaginings and Retellings
Retellings are hit or miss for me, and I enjoyed this one. When retellings are well done, I love making connections with the classic and watching that play out in modern times. I especially enjoy witty banter and strong-minded characters. I’m entertained by the grumpy/sunshine trope (more about that below), and fall hard for a satisfactory ending. I found Jane & Edward unputdownable.
I love Jane’s character! Competent, determined, and resilient. She works hard and smart to hold her own and take control of the situation as a concern arises. Jane refuses to be a victim.
- close proximity
- workplace romance
- slow-burn colleague relationship to instalove
A Possible Obstacle
Even though we have a lovely grumpy/sunshine trope, we might be concerned that this takes place at work and about the power dynamics of a boss/employee relationship. The insults and harassment that Jane endures from Edward does go beyond “grumpy.” If Jane were not the strong character she is, the situation might have been unbearable. Everyone in the law firm knows that Edward mistreats employees, so the fact that he is not held accountable by Human Resources or his peers is unfortunate. The complete picture here is that he is also the major stakeholder of the firm which makes him above reprimand I assume. Although Edward’s outrageous actions are unsettling. Edward and Jane both grow during the story: Edward begins treating Jane better, and Jane grows stronger and finds her voice.
Recommending Jane & Edward
Overall, I can recommend Jane & Edward for readers who enjoy slow-burn romance (closed door), retellings of classic stories, witty banter, a strong female main character, and women’s fiction. Book clubs might find this engaging and discussable.
We always have an HEA in the romance genre, but I’m not sure if I can fully buy into this one because I’m concerned that a person who can act this abusive in the first place might resort to that behavior down the road when things don’t go his way. If you can overlook this aspect of the story, embrace the growth, appreciate the witty writing, and enjoy the romance, I think this might be a good read for you.
Content Consideration: workplace harassment
My Rating: 4 Stars
Meet the Author of Jane & Edward, Melodie Edwards
Melodie Edwards has a BA from the University of Toronto, a master’s degree from McMaster University and Syracuse University (2023), studied comedy writing at the Second City Training Centre, and works in communications. Jane & Edward is her first novel.
Do you enjoy retellings? Is this one on your TBR?
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It’s great when they reimagine a traditional story in a modern place.
It can be interesting when done well!
I like the look of this one. Terrific review!
Thanks Wendy! It’s a good read!
Thanks for the thoughtful review! I appreciate your comments on the workplace relationship — that would make this a no-go for me, I’m afraid. As someone with a “day job” in HR, I don’t think I could get past the hostile workplace issues!
That part was cringy although less misogynistic than the original if I recall!
This sounds interesting, Carol. I agree, if this is a present day story, that kind of behaviour would not be tolerated, but if you can take that part with a grain of salt, I can see where this would be a good story.
I enjoyed this retelling and I don’t always enjoy them!