Book review: Jillian Dare by Melanie M Jeschke (Revell, 2009)
They’re from two different worlds. Can love unite them?
Things are looking up for Jillian Dare. She’s left her Shenandoah Valley foster home behind and is striking out on her own. Thrilled to land a job as a nanny at a large country estate in the rolling foothills of Virginia, she is enthralled with the beauty of her new home. Her young charge, Cadence Remington, is a delight and Jillian even has the opportunity for frequent trafel to the Remington family castle in England. It’s almost too good to be true.
Just as Jillian begins to feel at home, she meets her handsome but moody employer, Ethan. In spite of herself, Jillian realizes she might be falling for her boss. But how can a humble girl with no connections ever hope to win a successful entrepreneur from a wealthy family? And what dark secrets from the past is he hiding?
This contemporary story, inspired by the well-loved classic Jane Eyre, will capture your heart with its timeless romance and the mystery of love.
I should perhaps start by pointing out that this is classed as “Christian Fiction”, if I’m not entirely mistaken.
As the description from the back says, Jillian is a foster child who wasn’t completely miserable all her life, because she got to live with a large, nauseatingly perfect, happy family of very religious people. She decides she wants to do something for herself and becomes a nanny for a young girl, Cadence. Cadence’s father is the troubled, but rather nice once you scratch the surface, Mr Remington. He’s not always around, because he’s busy owning a big corporation.
But things aren’t so happy for Jillian – she’s receiving threatening emails!
And then she’s asked to take Cadence and travel with Mr Remington to his native England and stay there for a while, and then they go back to the United States again, and in the midst of all this, love between the nanny and the businessman starts growing – but trouble is brewing on the horizon, because y’know, plot of Jane Eyre.
Saying that, interesting thing about the mad wife, even if it was blatantly obvious what was going on. Whenever the woman was brought up in conversation, I noticed how people phrased things to do with her, which is of course what Jillian completely fails to do, so the big reveal didn’t come as a surprise for me as a reader.
The scenery change to an old, English hall felt gratuitous, but I guess it was the only reason certain things could have happened. It’s just that they stay at the place in America for quite some time, and then “scene change!” and then they go back again. Oh well.
Overall, I thought Jillian Dare was well-written book, in a sort of cute but harmless way. The author is clearly an Anglophile, but seems to know little about British people. The book caters to Americans, who perhaps have a rose-tinted view of the United Kingdom, but the religiousness Mr Remington supposedly had but needs reconnecting with feels … hrm, well, un-British. Not to say that there aren’t a bunch of faithful Christians about here, but … in general, Christianity not such a big deal here as it is on the other side of the Atlantic, so it felt rather alien. But then I also come from a largely secular country.
It’s a nice read, not groundbreaking perhaps, but then spin-offs of the classics rarely are.
3.5 out of 5 threatening emails.