Brief Summary: Jane Victoria has lived life in a cold and distant mansion in Toronto with her grandmother, aunt and mother. While she loves her mother, she isn’t too thrilled about anything else in life. One day at school, though, she’s told a secret: her dad (who Jane had been told was dead) is alive and well and living on Prince Edward Island. And one day, her mother receives a letter from the MIA dad demanding Jane come to PEI for the summer.
Kell’s Chatty Review: This was my first time reading Jane, and I have to admit, it was pretty delightful. Jane had a lot of spunk and tackled any problem or issue that was presented in front of her. In typical Montgomery fashion, PEI is displayed as a sort of fairy kingdom where all your troubles can be solved, and I loved it. (To be honest, I had missed it!)
But Who Called for Suzy Homemaker?: This is in no way a spoiler. Jane is ridiculously obsessed with keeping house. This next part, however, is a spoiler: I mean, she confronts a LION to ensure that she can put her father’s dinner on the table in time. What?!?!?! Who DOES that? Luckily, it wasn’t presented in a way that it felt like the housekeeping duties were forced on Jane, but rather that Jane loved cooking and cleaning. Which, yeah, maybe. But an 11-year old? For a whole summer? I mean I know it was 100 years about, but really?
Backbone: One of the running themes in this book is how girls can and need to have some backbone. And I loved that idea. While Anne (of Green Gables fame) had curiosity and gumption, I think Jane had much more backbone. She stood up for herself, her family and her friends and confronted people squarely. In the Anne novels, Marilla would never have allowed Anne to be that forward. It was absolutely refreshing to see a main character with some willpower.
Color Me Surprised: But both a mom AND a dad in a Montgomery book? Sure, not together, but alive and kicking? Now, I am by no means a Montgomery scholar – I have only read a very small number of her short stories and novels (but I’m working my way through them!), but for kicks and giggles I decided to keep track of who has at least one living parent in the story and, so far, I have found two short stories (with 1 parent in each) and, now, Jane. Will keep you posted as I progress.
Where does Jane rank, though: I think it’s a question that must be answer. And while I liked both the juxtaposition (ooh! big word so late at night!) of Jane’s Toronto world and her PEI world (and the kind of split personality she rocked for awhile) AND her backbone and general friendliness to anyone who crossed her path (which, let’s face it, Anne does NOT do), I can’t rate this one above Anne. I can understand why others may like Jane better, though. From what I remember of Emily, I’d probably put Emily in front of Jane as well, but that’s a pretty hazy memory to go on AND Emily and Anne both had the luck of getting sequels, while Jane is confined to one standalone.
What I most wanted to do after reading this book: Besides the obvious (*ahem* visit PEI), I felt the need to cook and clean and garden. Seriously, Jane is OBSESSED with it – then I look at my messy room and I’m ashamed of what Jane would think!
Where this book came from: My collection (via Canada!)
P.S. question to the general world – do you consider historical fiction to be fiction works written about the past solely or can that include fiction books that were written in the past and you are reading now (so therefore they are historical)?