I want to be able to say “I read this book in one sitting.” I can’t truthfully say that because I read slowly and the book is long, three hundred seventeen pages on my Fire. I can say, though, that the author pulled me into the story and kept me so interested that I only put the book down because it was time for dinner or time for bed or because I had been reading so long that I was tired! I didn't WANT to put it down!
The plot is rather straightforward. The story is set in nineteenth century England. Jane Adams has been accused of adultery, divorced by her husband, and disinherited by her father. With no money and no one willing to take her in, she is reduced to seeking employment as a governess. Lady Cavendish employs her in spite of her background, and her nephew, John Lockwood, the father of the children, continues to employ her in spite of letters from her former husband and his friends.
As the book progresses, it becomes obvious that things might not be as they seem. Jane does not behave like the woman described in the letters. John becomes suspicious of the husband’s motives. Divorce her, all right, he thinks, but why does he care if I employ her? Why try to ruin her life? Once she accumulates the funds, Jane goes to court to clear her reputation and to reclaim what is hers.
Both Nora and John want the return of what they have lost. Jane wants her old life back: her father, her work, her house. John wants the wife he had loved since they both were twelve years old. The world is such, though, that one cannot turn back a clock and retrieve the past.
One finds very little direct dialogue in the book. The story is told primarily through Jane’s thoughts, and the text reads as if the characters are thinking. People do not think in neat, simple, perfectly formed sentences, and the readers often finds long, sometimes rambling thoughts, with phrases strung together one after another. The effect is striking, and I found myself pulled along by the text.
The characters are strongly drawn. I felt as if I knew Jane and John, Nora, John’s mistress, and Mr. Pritchard, Jane’s former husband.
I loved Jane, and I wanted her to be happy. The author provided more than one means by which she might find happiness, and I wanted to know which, if any, she would experience. The conclusion is not obvious until the final pages.
I felt sorry for John, I was irritated by Nora, and I despised Mr. Pritchard.
This book is not a short, easy read, but it is well-worth your time. You will find the story to be captivating, in spite of its simplicity. You will cry with the characters, learn about human nature, and speculate on the meaning of life.
This is an excellent book!