2012 Debut Author Challenge – A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont (Book Review)

Good morning, everyone!  Today, I have another review from the 2012 Debut Author Challenge!

I originally found the DAC through Jessica Therrien, when she announced on Facebook that her book (Oppression) was going to be included in it.  I had originally thought to (hopefully) review her book for free, through the DAC ARC Tours, but I didn’t get approved for that one.  That’s okay, though, I ended up getting some unexpected gift cards and was able to buy Oppression for myself!

While I was browsing the page, looking at what other books were also available for the ARC Tours, I found A Breath of Eyre.  Since I have always loved the classics (Jane Austen, some Dickens, the Bronte sisters . . .), I decided I wanted to read this book.  I applied for the ARC tour, and lo and behold, I was chosen!

Must she choose between worlds?

(from the back cover)

Emma Townsend has always believed in stories – the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates.  Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school.  And her only romantic prospect is Gray Newman, a friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion.  But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre . . .

This story is so much more than is contained on the back cover.  Emma feeling like an outsider is just a brief portion of her life – she’s also sixteen, and struggling with the absence of her late mother.  It’s been several years since her death, but a teenage girl feels the absence of a mother more acutely, no matter what the absence is from.

The plot begins when Emma, at her sixteenth birthday party, goes for a swim and gets stuck in the riptide.  She somehow survives, but her family starts looking at her with different eyes, because her mother drowned herself (though Emma has been told that she died of a bad heart).

But before long, it’s time for her to return to her preppy, boarding school.  It’s close to home, but far enough away that she doesn’t go home all the time.  She and her new roommate are the outcasts of the school, because they’re there on scholarships, instead of actually being rich.  Their friendship is rocky at first, but they soon bond over mutual pain (both are motherless), and mutual persecution.  Soon they find themselves caught up in school, and both have their respective boy interests.

Everything changes on Halloween night, though.  Emma and her roommate sneak away to the boys school a mile away, and on the way back Emma is struck by lightning.  When she wakes up, she finds herself in the world of Jane Eyre, and struggles to find her way back – and if she even wants to come back at all.

I enjoyed reading this – the characters were complex, the plot was unique, and the writing was uncomplicated.

What I didn’t enjoy was the first portion of Emma’s stay in Jane’s world.  Since I was familiar with the Jane Eyre and it was a very slow part of the classic, it felt like Emma’s life/the plot was dragging.  I know that not everyone reading this book will be familiar with Jane Eyre, but I think some of it could have been shaved off.

Also, I personally would have liked a warning/hint/anything a little earlier in the book about the voodoo beliefs that were going to come into play.  They weren’t overpowering, but rather surprising. Since nothing else had hinted at it before, it felt like it didn’t fit.

There was also a specific line in the book that gave me flashbacks to Princess Bride.  It’s not an obvious line unless you’ve seen Princess Bride over and over and over again, and I doubt it was intentional, but yeah . . .

I enjoyed the book, but I’m up in the air about if I want to read the next one in the series or not, which will involve Emma being transported in the world of The Scarlet Letter (another favorite classic of mine). There was an excerpt and blurb in A Breath of Eyre that makes me cringe knowing some of the decisions Emma is going to make, and I like Emma as she is now.  I don’t know if I can handle seeing her change that much.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher for review through the DAC ARC Tours.