Friday, January 7, 2011
It's in the author's note that Lindner writes of being on Team Charlotte (Bronte, as opposed to Team Jane Austen)—of her love for Jane, the "freethinker," and for Mr. Rochester, "the sexiest guy in literature." It's in the acknowledgments that Lindner explains that her 21st century Mr. Rochester, a rock star named Nico Rathburn, was inspired by none other than Bruce Springsteen, the "rocker who has given me so much inspiration, solace, and joy, and who has served as a model of how an artist giving his all can truly work magic in the night. Without the soul-transporting music and electrifying stage presence of Bruce Springsteen and the legendary E Street Band, this book would not have been written. It's that simple."
I don't know why I tend to read the back of books first, but I do, and in this case, it was just what I needed to put Lindner's novel into context. Lindner's passion for Jane Eyre is transparent in these pages. She is utterly true to the arc of the original—presenting us with a sensible young woman who finds herself taking a nanny job in the estate of a brooding, wealthy rocker. Strange things occur in this Rathburn estate (called Thornfield), and Jane's not the kind of girl any one would peg as the would-be girlfriend of a troubled-past rocker. But things unfold as they must, and soon Jane and Nico are deeply in love with each other—engaged to be married and just about to tie the knot when the terrible secret at the heart of Thornfield is revealed.
Those who have read the original Jane Eyre will know what happens next, but it's fun to see just how Lindner pulls this all off—where she takes 19-year-old Jane, how she evolves the rocker, and how she gives this romance its final hopeful breaths. I read the book in a single sitting, intrigued by the premise and wishing that Lindner and I had together gone to a Springsteen concert, or two. I suspect she'd be a delightful, joyous companion.