I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.
I can't even begin to tell you what this books is about, so I'm going to let the official synopsis do the talking:
Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.
It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.
When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.
Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey.
Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.
If you haven't yet guessed, this is a sort of Jane Eyre retelling. I didn't realize it was when I requested it, so I was stuck with it, hoping that it was a decent story.
And it was. I was surprised. I usually don't read these kinds of fantasy stories, but I think the 'Eyreish' qualities of the story is what kept me focused. And somehow, the book managed to pay homage to Jane Eyre, while still being its own story. Also, the story seems to take place in an alternate past setting. Although never specified, it definitely doesn't take place in current times.
The book was slow going at first, but a little more than halfway through, it started to pickup, and then the action didn't stop. There were a lot of 'holy crap, did that just happen?' moments.
There will be a sequel, and I'm interested in how that's going to go. Perhaps that will be even more of its own story, and less Jane Eyreish.