Jane Agosto didn’t have the happiest upbringing. Abandoned by her mother, neglected by her aunt, she entered the foster system at age six and was always a step away from “falling through the cracks.” After school, she takes up work as a nanny watching an endearing eight-year-old named Adele. But when the girl’s absentee father, Miles Hayes, shows up, he takes an interest in Jane. He is a surfer, an environmental philanthropist, thirty-seven years old, and a millionaire…and it’s the last one that bothers Jane the most. With few friends in her young life, Jane finds herself drawn to Miles’ companionship–but she’s determined not to be that nanny, the one that sleeps with her employer.
As Jane’s relationship with Miles deepens, so do the mysteries surrounding the house on the ocean. Why are the pet seals in the aquarium so vicious whenever Miles is around? Who attacked the keeper named Poole and almost killed him? And who set the fire that almost burned Miles to death in his sleep? Eventually, Jane will have to make her own decision–to choose Miles with all of his mysterious past, or to extricate herself from this impossible situation and try to make her own way in the world.
This whimsical retelling of Jane Eyre was a pleasant weekend read. It has a light chick-lit flavor instead of the Gothic eeriness of the original. One of the drawbacks of a modern version of this classic is that it is difficult to explain why Rochester…ahem, Miles Hayes…didn’t extricate himself from his difficulties with a divorce (after all, divorce is a little easier to obtain in the 21st century than in the 19th), but the story was still entertaining enough with some suspension of disbelief. I enjoyed the elements of sea mythology that were blended into the story, and I would have loved to see these explored more. All in all, a quick and fun read!