Cover Image: Reader, I Murdered Him

Reader, I Murdered Him

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A story about Adele, a Victorian girl who becomes a vigilante. I read the prologue and was like yes, I'm in. Gaslight and retribution, I'm here for it. And then it became a take on Jane Eyre???? The whole first part is basically a summary of Jane Eyre from the perspective of the daughter. I am still lost on to what this had to do with the premise that was described in the synopsis. It just felt like a completely separate book from the rest of it to me.
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I didn't know that I needed a Sapphic sequel to Charlotte Bronte's <i>Jane Eyre</i> focusing on Adele Varens, Mr. Rochester's ward, but upon reflection, I'm surprised I didn't. <i>Reader, I Murdered Him</i> joins Jean Rhys' <i>Wide Sargasso Sea</i> in its refutation of Rochester as a romantic hero, using Adele's story to show us that we as readers should perhaps have always been more critical of a man who thought that it was perfectly fine to lock one wife up in an attic while actively trying to marry a second one. Bronte allows us to blame Bertha Mason for her own incarceration - she was no true wife to Rochester, so naturally he deserves another, better (younger) one. But in Adele's story we see that Bertha is merely the first woman fridged by Rochester and one of many women abused by men in Victorian England. If it isn't entirely scathing, it's still impressive in its view of Bronte's novel, and Adele is a heroine worthy of the name as she learns that "wealthy" does not equate to "free" and that "wife" most certainly doesn't.

There are some very slow sections of the novel towards the middle while Adele is coming to her realizations, and I would have liked a bit more time spent developing the romance between Adele and Nan, although I give Cornwell full credit for writing a consensual lesbian sex scene in a young adult novel. (It's not hugely descriptive, if you're concerned, and a reader not ready to see it would likely miss a lot of what's going on in the sex scene.) But I love the way it's set up, the way Cornwell forces us to see Rochester for what he very well could have been, and the quiet reminder that women can and will take their power where they can.
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I did really enjoy this. Queer Victorian vigilantism, yknow, hot girl shit. The pacing I felt could’ve been a little tighter, this is a retelling/continuation of Jane Eyre and the whole first half of the book is retelling, before we get to vigilante goodness. I haven’t read Jane Eyre but I know the story enough that I think I would’ve been fine with less time devoted to retelling, or at least let Jane be more…cursory I think is the right word? To let Adele stand on her own as a protagonist and spend more time on that viciousness the blurb promised. That being said, it’s a fast read so that first half never felt like it dragged and before I knew it we were at the vigilante part, and that was thoroughly enjoyable.

I also really appreciated how trans Nan, the love interest, felt. I don’t know if she was supposed to be a trans girl or just a butch really good at disguise but I read her so entirely as trans that it made me smile.

So yeah, the definition of “I support women’s rights but also women’s wrongs” right here,
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If it was more clear from the description that this was a Jane Eyre spinoff, I probably would not have requested it (and from reading some other reviews, this being a spinoff/retelling was a surprise to many readers).. 

I think this could/would have been a much more enjoyable book (for me) if it was just original characters in their own universe, because the premise of this story is pretty great. Another complaint: the "big twist" just kind of came out of nowhere, and then there were some loose ends that never really got addressed during the rushed ending.
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Adele is a very likable character, especially as a Robin Hood heroine. The premise of the book is so good but just falls a little short.

I felt like Adele’s background (while important for her character) takes up a lot more time in the book than the really interesting aspects, like her Villianess exploits with Nan. Her time as a Villianess (as she refers to her time robbing wealthy men) seems glossed over.

Lastly, the twist and the ending felt rushed and unbelievable. Thinking back, I could think of no hint of the big twist - like the twist came out of nowhere. 

The ending felt glossed over and too tidy. It doesn’t explain how certain characters knew certain information in order to make a tidy ending. And while you really like Adele and want everything to work out for her, it is a little unbelievable that she came out of this story completely unscathed and all hunky dory. 

This story had a ton of potential that was just unfulfilled.
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DNF at 33%. 

This book is just really boring. It takes being based on Jane Eyre too literally and the reading feels quite slow and boring.  

The letter writing device feels contrived.  

I picked this up after a recommendation at work despite not being interested in it and should have just left it alone.
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Super thankful to the publishers for allowing me to read this as an e-arc via NetGalley! I haven’t read a book that had a similar balance of grit and lyricism since maybe Six of Crows? It’s dark, and there are triggers to be aware of, but if you’re okay with content like that then you’re in for a ride. I was immediately captivated by Adèle and her story. I’ve never read Jane Eyre so everything here was completely new to me, but I was still able to picture it and keep track of the plot. 
I’d been struggling with a current reading slump and knew I needed something fun? 😅 which it actually had plenty of. I enjoyed the sense of humour and found that the reveals and twists were a good mix of shocking and drawn-out intrigue.
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Based on the description of the book, I was super excited to read it. A Victorian queer revenge YA book? It was an immediate yes. However, it left me wanting a lot more. 
I liked the idea of the story, and I did like the characters. I enjoyed reading about Adele's relationships at boarding school and how they became a sort of family. A lot of stories set during this time period makes young women seem stuffy, and this story humanized them and made them seem more like regular teenagers. However, while the characters make this book enjoyable to read overall, I had a lot of issues with the plot and writing style. 
The author makes it VERY clear in the beginning that the book is a Jane Eyre spinoff from Rochester's daughter's perspective. In fact, I wish I kept track of how many times Jane Eyre was name dropped in the book. It seemed like the author focused more on how to insert Jane Eyre' s story into hers that it overshadowed Adele's narrative completely for me. 
I also thought the pacing was a bit odd for me. A first third of the story is a Jane Eyre retelling (which we should know if we are reading a spinoff) and the last third is Adele becoming a vigilante. Everything in between felt like filler, especially when the description is so heavy on the vigilante aspect of the story.
Overall, I think the author's idea was amazing. Again - a Victorian queer revenge YA book? YES. I think removing the Jane Eyre aspect of the book would have left the author much more leeway to experiment with the story and characters. 

Thank you to HarperCollins and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. MY GOODNESS. Victorian? YA? Queer romance? A woman who is privileged but also keeps an eye out for those who aren't? This entire books was amazing, and THEN it clicked that this is the stunning addition to the story from Jan Eyre, ya know? The adopted daughter!? ADELE. Oh my goodness.
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This is definitely a story about strong females taking on a world made for men. 

Adele's mom was a dancer and prostitute.  Adele grew up in the world of men using women for sex and a bit on how to get what she wanted.  But her mom died when she was young and she was sent away with a man that might have been her father.  He took her from France and to England where she was pretty unhappy.  Her father was never nice to her and there was a lot of mental abuse.  She loved her governess, but she was sent away from her too.  After being at a horrible school with abuse, Adele is sent to a finishing school where she will not only learn school subjects, but also how to come out and find a rich man to marry.  Adele finds herself attracted to one of her friends and she decided to try to help her more than herself.  Most of the girls were being wed off to much older men.  When her friend was attacked, Adele came to her rescue and killed a man.  Luckily the young man she was dancing with decided to back her up.  The police will listen to a man, but not a woman.  Adele decides then that she will protect all her friends no matter what.  She learns how to fight and sneaks out at night.  She will save as many as possible.  She also found someone to love, but society wouldn't agree with it.  As rebellious as Adele is, she still wants to follow her mother's wishes for her.  

This is a bit dark and definitely shows all types of abuse to women and that women have no power over themselves in the world.  It also hits on how money is power and the rich white men were the ones with all the control.  

I gave this book 4 stars.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my earc.
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Five stars for the title!

Alas, reader, the rest of this book was not quite what I was hoping for. I felt like a lot the book, especially at the beginning, was trying too hard to make sure the big plot points of Jane Eyre were covered which made the story feel a bit jumpy and unfocused. Adele was definitely an interesting character and there was a lot of potential here, but the story was weirdly slow and kind of dull for a book that was supposed to be about Victorian-era vigilante justice meted out by young girls. The twisty bit at the end was super gross (but made sense based on the characters involved), but I wanted MORE VENGEANCE. Overall this book was *fine* but not as amazing as I think it could have been with some punching up.
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What an absolute treasure this story is! It takes Rochester’s French ward and shows us Rochester, Bertha, Jane, et Al from her perspective. And then it extends the story to show what her life was like once Jane was her stepmother.

What impact on Adele did the reality of Bertha have? How and who was she destined to become?

What a FABULOUS story.
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When Adele is sent away to boarding school in London, she's happy to enter the brightly lit world of society girls and their wealthy suitors. Yet there are shadows there, too. Many of the men that try to charm Adele's new friends do so with dark intentions. After a violent assault, she turns to a roguish young con woman for help. Together, they become vigilantes meting out justice. But can Adele save herself from the same fate as those she protects?
Reader, I must say this was not what I expected. First, I was surprised when I started reading this that it was an adaptation of Jane Eyre that was told from Adele’s point of view. This was a surprised since nowhere was it advertised as such. The cover and title were what caught my attention, leading me to try this one from Netgalley. This is considered a young adult novel, but there should be caution since there are attempted SA. I’m glad the letters from Eric tied in because I really did not enjoy them, but at least knowing it had reason helped. The fact that this was written to a similar style as Brontë’s work was something I appreciated. Fans of Jane Eyre should give this one a try and even if you haven’t read Jane Eyre you can give this one a read.
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Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this novel. 3/5 stars, but also I would probably give it a 2.5/5 too. I don't know. It has good social commentary, 2.5 I guess. 

The title and the cover is just. ugh, I love it. And then I discover that it's based on Jane Eyre and the character of Adele, so....okay I guess. And then there's some vigilante stuff, but it's mostly "fade to black" and the narration is very, very dry. The "sapphic" is only a small amount of the plot, and I felt like the relationship between Nan and Adele wasn't developed. I also don't think the plot was developed. Every now and then, there's something in the book where I'm like, oh, okay, I can see the plot coming out of this but then it's either quickly resolved without ramifications or it's solved off page. Like, there's not really a solid plot. 

Then a lot of the book happens with letters between Eric and Adele, and then a twist at the end of the book just ruins it? and leaves a really sour taste in your mouth? and is also completely unjustified and happens without context or anything leading up to the development of it. 

The highlight of this book was the social commentary of the patriarchy and the gendered norms. Although this takes place in the victorian era, a lot of the commentary -- although it was little compared to how long this book is -- could be applied to today. 

Overall, this book was extremely disappointing.
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I never knew I needed this book until I got it.  This story incorporates characters from classic Jane Eyre and it's wonderful.  Adele is a girl born to a French dancer at Le Moulin.  Mr. Rochester of classic novel Jane Eyre comes to take his daughter home with him to England.  She meets his wife, she loves her tutor Jane and she begins a correspondence with her cousin in Jamaica Eric Fairfax to improve her English.  I fell in love with this story because Adele is a girl, who grows into a young woman when she's sent to finishing school and learns what it means to be a woman in her society.  She learns what her limits would be, makes friends and grows into someone  that will fight for what she wants, fights to save her friends, and best of all fights to have a future on her own terms.
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After the death of Adele‘s prostitute/dancer mother she has sent to live with her possible father Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. Although her relationship with Jane is an iffy one There is affection between them. Jane even introduces Odell to Eric Fairfax who lives in Jamaica and will be her penpal and confidant through the trials ahead. soon Jane is expecting a new baby in Odell is sent to boarding school and instead of going home for the holidays she will spend them with new friends she’s made at the Winchester school for girls. She is growing closer emotionally to her penpal Eric, but also feels special affection for Hannah a shy and demur girl who’s future depends on her prospects at the society balls. Adele is so hyper aware of Hannah that when she doesn’t see her in the ballroom, She goes to look for her only to find someone trying to take advantage of her own instinct Odell gets between them and before she knows it tragedy has happened. This almost makes Adele crumble, but instead she decides to do the opposite and not only defend the girls at the school Will help them defend their self in the person who’s going to teach Adele all about defense is a pick pocket homeless Irish girl named man. When Adele starts to fall in love with man she will have to decide does she want to be with Eric all this girl who makes her feel unlike she’s ever felt before. This was a great book! I love Jane Eyre and I loved seeing a different site to her and Mr. Rochester. But that’s the beginning of the book and the rest is all about Adele who I like so much. They had some awesome characters in this book and I found it so interesting and really felt like these were real people as opposed to characters in the book. Their feelings seem authentic in the writing style just pushes you along I can’t say enough about reader I murdered him I have never read a book by this author but I definitely want to read more if they’re all as good as this one signed me up. I received this book from net Gally I am the publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind to dictate my review but all opinions are definitely my own.
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I had a really hard time getting into this book and it took me weeks to finish it. I feel it had so much potential and then just flopped. Maybe 10 pages of excitement then the rest was full of boredom and the same thoughts over and over again.
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I really loved this book and how Adele grew as a character! She was really fun to follow as she tried to stay true to herself while being safe from her father. I hadn't known that there were going to be characters from Jane Eyre making an appearance in this book, but I loved that and how Adele's story fit so well into the plot of Jane Eyre! The author's spin on Jane was super good and that was really fun to read! I couldn't recommend this book more!
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A great novel for fans of Charlotte Brontë or Jane Austin, this is the story of Adèle Varens - the girl Jane Eyre is hired to tutor in the novel that bears her name. 

Raised by her dancer/prostitute mother in France, Adèle is taken to England on her mother's death to live with Edward Rochester (who may or may not be her father). Despite the efforts of her guardians and tutors, she never quite forgets the early lessons of her childhood and has a jaded view of the paternalistic elements of English society. For example, as much as she loves Jane, it is Rochester's wife Bertha who was a comfort to her in the earliest days and who wins the majority of the reader's sympathy. Jane's overwhelming and self-sacrificing love for Rochester is something Adèle outwardly accepts but inwardly chafes against.

Going away to school lets her escape to a world where she can finally begin to form friendships and thrive, but also begins to realize that the abuse she and her mother and Bertha suffered at the hands of the men around them is common at all levels of society. Adèle commits Hansel-and-Gretel style murder by pushing a man to his death to protect a friend, which sets into motion the rest of the novel. Adèle must come to terms with both her actions and the way English society treats women - not by accepting it, but by finding her own way to agency. While there are a few moments that require the reader to actively suspend disbelief, the end of the novel is a series of surprising twists and turns that leads to a satisfying ending.
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I wanted to like this book more than I did, but I didn't hate it either. Having never read Jane Eyre before I can't say for certain, but it did not seem like this book needed be an adaptation or continuation of it. In fact, I felt that this just lead to part one of the book being very slow. There is also very little of the book actually dedicated to Adele's vigilante-ism, though when it is I really enjoyed it. I also really like the relationships between Adele and the other school girls, I always appreciate books that show women supporting each other. As far as the ending goes, I understand why it went that direction but it probably could have been set up a little better.

All that said, I would recommend this book for fans of LGBTQ+ romance (I thought it was done pretty well here), historical fiction, and books about female empowerment and independence.
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