***I was assigned this title in a book group and was asked to give an honest review.
The novel depicts the story of Jane Adams, a young and allegedly scandalous woman in England in the 1830s, who secures a job as a governess while seeking to obtain justice and right the wrong that caused her fall from society.
I think the book is part romance, and part a period piece, with a strong social and feminist point of view.
Although it might seem similar to Jane Eyre, because the heroine has to work as governess because of the injustice of her life, I can say that similarities end there.
The plot is well designed even though the pace of the novel is slow. The characters are rounded and present depth, especially because of the psychological stream of consciousness dialogue. The narrative is fluent even though thoughts and motivations are explained lengthily in the light of the Victorian era.
Critically, there might be a little discrepancy between the 1830s and what happens in the novel, but I thought of something named literary license and I actually enjoyed the deviations, especially because I am not a real fan of the respective époque. Besides that, I am pretty sure that every period along history had its non-conformists.
I encountered also some anachronisms and they might ruin a little the atmosphere of the Victorian era, however, as I am not a fun of that time, I didn’t really care but I am sure there are readers who do, so unfortunately, that’s a downfall.
However, I felt that the author had a chance for a great masterpiece, something on the lines of a Jane Austen novel or a Bronte, but she didn’t carry it on. I suppose there was a huge effort to write such a novel, with so much depth and so well-fleshed characters, and that is the explanation for the rushed end.
This is not a novel for everyone who wants just a bit of romance. It is a serious story with serious characters and it might seem a bit difficult for some people to swallow. The psychological depth and the intrusion of the past might make the reading challenging for someone who wants just a bit of romance, somewhere in a ballroom or on the shore of an English lake.
Nevertheless, in my opinion, Noorilhuda has created a real and believable world and raised the bar for women conditions in the 19th century.
I read just for curiosity some of the reviews and I noticed one that complained about a typo in the last two sentences of the book. In my opinion: “Not Yet” is not a typo, just emphasis on the “yet”, however, any one is entitled to their own opinion.
My opinion is that this is a book of huge potential. It might even become that great novel that would feature in the history of literature – it takes a little more work though.
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