Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.This is a retelling of Jane Eyre. I usually enjoy those and found myself having fun putting together the people of the classic book to the one's in this book. The characters do have similarities, but there are major differences. In this book, there was a war with the Fae and our Jane is not plain, but injured in a fae attack. One that disfigured her face and gave her a curse from the fae. She tries to deflect both with an iron mask. Like the other Jane, it is her preoccupation with her beauty (or lack of it) that dominates some of her internal strife although it is much more pronounced in this book. However, it is her internal strength of spirit that endures all types of hardship that also stays the same and gives us our heroine.
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.
The slight changes in the characters, especially Edward, I enjoyed. I admittedly never did understand why Jane fell so hard for someone who treated her so oddly, but there was a bit more explanation of Edward's behavior as to why he treated her thusly. Still, there were times when I thought Jane should wash her hands of Edward because he also inspired her weakness within this tale. In the end I was glad that Edward captured her heart and I hope he earns it in the next book in this series in a more earnest way.
I had some problems within this book. One was that the fae had to take over bodies to exist in this realm. I didn't quite get how that would work if they were killed by iron and we have iron in our blood. It would negate some of the ways to kill the fae while in our bodies. Apart from that, I have to also say that I was disappointed in the ending. One that I will not reveal, but my disappointment comes from the philosophy of masks we wear and who we are despite our outer coverings. A philosophy that could have fully been realized but was weakened by the ending. There were also other philosophical directions it could have gone, but the work decidedly didn't stray far from the shallows.
I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I enjoyed this retelling of Jane Eyre and I'm curious as to where this series will go next. I may be disappointed in failed philosophy, but I fully admit that is personal and does not fully deflect from my enjoyment of the whole book as entertainment. It ended up being quite entertaining to me.
I received this eARC from NetGalley and Tor and no compensation for my review was given.