Evie is a loner, emotionally distant, without friends. She invents realities more colorful than her true life. She imagines scenarios involving Jonah Luks, the handsome drop out and dead animal remover for whom she harbors a secret crush. One Sunday morning she stops to chat with Jonah while on her paper route. Used to the sight of dead animals, he is startled by the discovery of the body of a girl. Evie recognizes her as Zabet McCabe. They were friends years ago in Elementary School. Evie immediately fixates on the murder of her past friend.
While attending Zabet’s funeral Evie encounters her grieving father. Mr. McCabe, eager to find a connection to his murdered daughter, latches on to Evie and urges her to tell him about his daughter. Evie, adept at stretching the truth, weaves a story that will comfort Zabet’s father. Zabet’s real best friend, Hadley continues the charade. The two girls vow to discover the killer of their friend. Hadley becomes obsessed with unearthing the truth. Evie’s life is spinning out of control. She wants to find Zabet’s murderer as much as anyone, but at what cost?
Kate Williams’ debut novel is a hauntingly beautiful story. The cover itself is stunning. What lies beyond is a lyrical masterpiece. I am a big mystery lover, but this one goes beyond the simple whodunit. The focus of this novel is not the murdered girl or the identity of the killer. It is how those left behind are changed by the events. I can’t accurately do justice to the depth of this book. The Space Between Trees is one of my favorite books.
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“What if Jane Eyre worked for a rock star?”
Jane Moore is orphaned by the death of her parents. Left with no alternative, she drops out of college and begins job hunting. Her travels take her to a nanny service that matches her with a client. Jane is probably the only person not thrown by the name Nico Rathburn. He is a world famous rock star who coincidentally needs a nanny for his daughter. So off to Thornfield Park in Connecticut she goes. Here Jane is introduced to a world unlike any she’s ever known. Rambling around a huge mansion and grounds, Jane tries to assimilate to her new life. Maddy, minus a famous French mom, immediately takes to Jane.
Just like her nineteenth century counterpart, our Jane doesn’t meet Rochester, I mean Rathburn, at first. He is mysterious and brooding, yet simple and kind. Jane is not thrilled by his rock star status, and this intrigues him. Nico insists on Jane’s presence during his parties and practices, but never fully exposing his true self.
Through Jane’s simplicity and honesty, Nico relies on her to assist him during precarious situations. If you remember the original, you’ll be waiting for the mysterious woman in the attic. Well, she’s here too. Grace Poole is now Brenda, keeping watch over a deep, dark secret. Just when Nico and Jane’s love blossoms, this secret from Nico’s past comes back to stand in their way.
Jane flees Rathburn and Maddy, reverting to a simplified existence in New Haven. Here she meets the St. John siblings. Just as in the original, this is my least favorite part but Lindner manages to make Jane’s sidetrack more palatable that Bronte’s. I was actually engaged with these characters rather than skipping over these chapters.
So same ending you ask? Will Jane and Rathburn live happily ever after at Thornfield Park? You’ll just have to find out for yourself.
Sure I’ll admit I had low expectations upon cracking the cover. Seriously, how can you improve on a classic? I stand corrected. Any doubts evaporated once I began reading. Bravo April Lindner! I was totally blown away by a fantastic update of the classic Jane Eyre. For those of you that are not familiar with the original by Charlotte Bronte, I urge you to pick that up first. For those of you, like me, that have loved Jane Eyre and pictured yourself walking the halls of Thornfield Manor, Jane is a welcomed companion. Look for Catherine, Lindner’s adaptation of Wuthering Heights.
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