Faye hasn't embarked on a retelling of Brontë's masterwork, or anyone else's, for that matter. Her novel pays homage to the greats, yet offers a heroine whose murky past and murderous present remind us that some female behavior in other eras never made it into print.
Jane Steele, an orphan turned governess, is a 'murderess five times over.' Perhaps more unforgivable, her crimes are wonderfully entertaining ... 'Conventionality is not morality,' Charlotte Brontë argued. 'Self-righteousness is not religion. . . . Appearance should not be mistaken for truth.' Jane Steele adopts these words as her moral compass, slaying seemingly respectable villains who actually commit heinous deeds.