If you ever saw that movie Au Pare which was good, you’ve got a pretty good picture of what this book is like. Although, the story is not the same at all, it has the same premise. Young girl gets nanny job, faces aversity from some unknown person and falls in love with handsome father of child. Now, if you have ever read the book Jane Eyre (which is an absolute must read because it is so very good), you’ve got the idea of the story line of this book.

Honestly, Melanie M. Jeschke did not do a great job of moderizing Jane Eyre, in my opinion. The old story was darkly romantic and heavy with mystery. This novel is not. While the characters are fairly well developed, and you do notice within the first 10 pages or so that this is the retelling of Jane Eyre, (the cover tells you that, too) it does not live up to expectations. The supporting characters are not developed well. They don’t have much depth and this detracts from the story, making the reader want to fill in a hole somewhere but you don’t know where the hole is.

I have a strong feeling that this is an editing problem, not the author’s problem because publishers these days don’t want to publish books with more than 97,000 to 100,000 words. Jane Eyre had 200,000 words or more and every single one of them was needed to progress the feel of story which is what Jane is all about.

Jane went to work in a dark and brooding household, whereas Jillian goes to work in a bright and airy mansion of a place. Jane feels closed in and almost oppressed by the mystery, and Jillian is merely puzzled. Jane is frightened and timid, but perserveres, Jillian is bold and health conscious, which is fine, but is a bit incongruous to the Jane Eyre tradition.

I know, Jeschke did not want to do a story exactly like the old one. I think she did a terrific job of creating a unique enough novel, which was definitely inspired by the old classic. I just think the atmosphere of the old would have lent itself very well to modernization, in fact it would have been even more gothic than gothic.

Bear in mind it is my opinion, but I give this one two stars. It is mildly interesting. Perhaps that is because the old classic was so tremendously good that the retelling of it falls rather flat.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Jillian Dare: A Novel
Revell (May 1, 2009)
Melanie M. Jeschke


Melanie Morey Jeschke (pronounced jes-key), a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from University of Virginia as a Phi Beta Kappa with an Honors degree in English Literature and a minor in European and English History.

A free-lance travel writer, Melanie contributed the Oxford chapter to the Rick Steves’ England 2006 guidebook. She is a member of the Capital Christian Writers and Christian Fiction Writers as well as three book clubs, and taught high-school English before home-schooling most of her nine children. Melanie lectures on Lewis and Tolkien, Oxford, and writing, and gives inspirational talks to all manner of groups, including university classes, women’s clubs, young professionals, teens, and school children.

A fourth generation pastor’s wife (her father Dr. Earl Morey is a retired Presbyterian minister), Melanie resides in the Greater Washington, D.C. area with her children and husband Bill Jeschke, a soccer coach and the Senior Pastor of The King’s Chapel, an non-denominational Christian church in Fairfax, Virginia.


Jillian Dare leaves her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and strikes out on her own as a nanny at a large country estate in northern Virginia. She is delighted with the beauty of her new home, the affection of her young charge Cadence Remington, and the opportunity for frequent travel to the Remington castle in England.

She is less certain about her feelings for her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she is falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl ever hope to win a wealthy man of the world? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding? This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic Jane Eyre, will capture readers’ hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Jillian Dare: A Novel, go HERE

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