Sunday, September 3, 2023

Private Property by Skye Warren


If you heard an outraged pterodactyl-sounding screech of rage, that was me when I got to the cliffhanger at the end of this book. I probably shouldn't be surprised, though. Having read other series by this author, I can definitely confirm that this is 100% her thing.

I'll try not to be mad.

Keyword: try.

I'm actually really impressed with how polished this book is compared to some of this author's other works. In PRIVATE PROPERTY, she has really honed her writing style into something dark and richly atmospheric, with slow-burn sexual attraction and, of course, lots of smut. I think going into this book expecting it to be a carbon copy of JANE EYRE is a mistake, since that's obviously not what the author is trying to do. This is one of those books that feels more like an homage than a straightforward retelling-- even if there's a wicked cliffhanger.

Jane Mendoza is a biracial nanny who is moving from Texas to Maine to take care of a girl named Paige, the niece of the tortured and very imposing Beau Rochester. I think the author did a good job capturing what a manipulative dick Rochester was, and how he basically did it for his own amusement, and because he knew he could get away with it. Some of the stand-offs between Jane and Beau felt very much in keeping with the source material and more than a couple of them made me smile.

Even though this is smut, it is Smut with Plot(TM) which makes a world of difference because it allows for an emotional connection between the two leads that fuels all their scenes together. I liked how Jane talked about how when her Latinx father died, she felt as if her connection to her culture was severed. The way that grief was approached in this book was also really well done. The author shows, rather than tells, us how disillusioned Beau has become with the wealthy set he used to party with, and Jane's abusive and grief-stricken past allow her to forge a connection with his defiant and grieving niece, who is about to flunk out of the first grade because she is refusing to do her school work.

I will say that the second half is a bit weaker than the first half, just because it felt like the author stopped caring as much about the atmosphere and tension once Jane and Beau started hooking up, but I devoured this so eagerly that I really can't give it less than five stars. It's one of my favorite Jane Eyre retellings that I've read, and now I'm feeling the urge to binge-read some more, all thanks to this book.

Thanks to Emily Kestrel for BR-ing this with me. :)

4.5 out of 5 stars

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