Goodreads): Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.
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.
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.
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
And here's what I thought: I thought this book was an interesting twist on the Jane Eyre story. There was some good character building, and some twists and turns. I had mixed feelings about the main character, Jane; I think I found her more interesting than I actually found her likeable. Also, the romance between Jane and Edward felt somewhat forced. Their feelings don't seem to develop gradually, and there's almost a wooden quality to their interactions.
What I did like about this book was the concept of the fey curses, and how iron held the curses in place. Here's an example (p. 100): "She knew that the gruffness, the dismissal, was only his manner. A side effect, perhaps, of the howling depression he'd once confessed to her was his curse. The outline of his shirt caught on the iron underneath, the tough cotton snagging on the metal ridges, the hang of the leather jacket deformed by the iron chest that squeezed him like a vise, as if a tighter cinching could drive out the poison." As the story progresses, it starts to seem like perhaps the iron isn't always a good thing to have in constant contact, and for some people, it may, in fact, be poisoning them. The whole storyline about the Great War, and the repercussions was something I wish had been a bit more developed, but I thought it was intriguing.
I'd give this book an E for effort, and I liked it enough that I'll read the next book in the series.
First lines: The moor was grey, battlefield grey. It had been five years since the last fey was seen, but out here Jane could almost imagine the Great War still raged on. Grey mist drifted through the blackened trees, recalling the smoke from the crematory kilns. That was a constant smell in the last months of the war.
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