If you've been following this blog you know that I have been singing the praises of the classic Bronte story from the 19th century. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre has inspired romance writers for many years with stories of a governess and a brooding master of the estate.
I've read dozens of them. Many fade from memory but I have two very excellent choices to recommend for you if you are hungering for more from the Jane Eyre plotline.
Prepare to be entertained and Amazed!I recently read a modern rendition of Jane Eyre, a book that captivated me from start to finish. I read this one in January of 2015, so the wonderful and imaginative story-line is still very much with me.
The book is The Auction, by Anna Erishkigal. It is a sweet, contemporary romance. In this story, the heroine, Rosie, is a recent college graduate who has just been dumped by her boyfriend. She's forced to move out of his apartment and has literally no place to go, as she is estranged from her family. Penniless, packing all her belongings into the boot of her car, Rosie accepts a job in a rural area of Australia as a caretaker and teacher to a 9 year old girl. The job is at a remote cattle station that is no longer running, so it's an isolated situation, just like Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre. Unlike Thornfield, it's no manor house with servants. It's basically an old farm house.
Meet a modern Jane Eyre, Miss Rosie XalbadoraOur heroine has a tragic past, following the theme in Jane Eyre. Her parents divorced when she was a teen and she was left with the flaky mom as dad went off to build a new life in another country. She's got emotional baggage. She can relate well to her lonely charge, the darling little blond girl Pippa, who is going through the beginning stages of her parent's divorce. Rosie and Pippa bond as they explore the rugged landscape near the ranch. More than anything, Pippa wants a horse. As a former teen show rider and blue ribbon champion, Rosie can relate to the child's dream of having a special friend in a horse. Rosie would like nothing more than to see Pippa get her wish. The father is dead set against it. This causes friction between Rosie and Adam.
The title, The Auction, comes into play as it is an end goal for Rosie and Pippa. Rosie knows about unwanted horses being sold at auctions, usually very cheaply--a horse that is broken, a cast off nearly ready for the meat plant. Rosie goes behind Adam's back and encourages her charge to earn money for a horse, thinking they can find her a pony at the Horse Auction for a reasonable price. She feels this is important so that Pippa can take riding lessons with her new friends and find a sense of worth and self-confidence Rosie sees she is lacking. The horse will come to symbolize everything for the little girl, and the auction also holds a secret nightmare for Rosie that emerges from her past.
The hero in this wonderful tale is Adam, a brooding, troubled man who is separated from his wife and seeking divorce. As he has custody of his daughter, he needs someone to care for and teach his 9 year old daughter, Pippa, as his job takes him away from home for days at a time. He needs a babysitter, housekeeper and teacher rolled into one. Rosie will accomplish all three, plus a whole lot more.
A mystical, magical landscape, and old legends take on a new lifeWhat I loved about this story-line was the element of magic the author skillfully weaved in. She brings in fairies (I love fairies!). Little Pippa talks to the Mimi's (the mythic fairy-like beings of the native Australians), and as she's a child, you're not quite sure if it's just her imagination at play. She claims the Mimi's guide her in her dreams. Our heroine, Rosie, also begins to have strange visitations in her dreams after she comes to the ranch house. In her dreams a young girl on horseback and a gruff old cowherd keep stopping in and try to show her things. There are many twists and turns in the plot, leading you on in the story as you root for Rosie to succeed, to find a place in the world (like JE), and nearly weep for Pippa, who seems so lost and forlorn. You hope Adam and Rosie will finally get together as they deserve to be, but it seems hopeless, just like the situation in Jane Eyre. You will be delighted by this author's fresh take on an old story from the 19th Century, I know I was.
The Auction mirrors the plot lines of Jane Eyre seamlessly
And yet it's a fresh new story set in a modern world with very modern sensibilities. Adam isn't quite as frustrating as Mr. Rochester. Oh, he's intimidating and standoffish at first, but he warms to Rosie, and they seem to bond over Pippa's antics as time progresses. Like Mr. R, Adam gives Rosie mixed signals about his feelings for her. Adam appears to want to pursue a relationship with Rosie, but then ends up doubling back to his wife for the sake of their daughter. The wife is a piece of work. Adam and his wife are separated, as I mentioned previously, but she keeps showing up and messing with his head, causing real hurt to their daughter by not showing up to take her for the weekend as promised, and generally causing trouble for Rosie. The wife is sort of like Miss Blanche Ingram in JE, the other woman seems to captivate Mr. Rochester, and who makes Jane feel so plain and unattractive in comparison. The wife also has a nasty secret, a very scary one in a plot twist that will surprise you as it's so parallel to the JE storyline it's genius. As I said, it's a modernization of that classic story, and it's executed brilliantly by this author.
Addictive Reads Escape into Romance Boxed Set , and choose your file format to download. Go ahead, you can do it, that's 11 contemporary romances by 11 bestselling authors for just .99 cents!
Or if you prefer to purchase just the book, The Auction, A Sweet Contemporary Romance, by Anna Erishkigal, you can purchase it at the links below. I wouldn't recommend this if I didn't know it was worth the post, as I rarely talk about current works of fiction here. Like Jane Eyre, The Auction is a book you can read again and again as time goes by to get lost in the struggles of our very modern Jane Eyre, Miss Rosie Xalbadora--a woman who is part gypsy. That's another quirky and fun element to the story that will make you smile. Yes, didn't I say this is a very unique and refreshing story!
The Auction, by Anna Erishkigal:
The Auction on Amazon.com
The Auction on Nook
The Auction on Smashwords.com
Next time, I'll share another great romance read that mirrors Jane Eyre, a historical romance, I discovered some years ago, before I was a published author. I still remember that story, and that's what makes a story good, remembering the characters long after the book ends.