In a future world where a new Ice Age has sent humans onto spaceships orbiting Earth, Stella Ainsley is an orphan looking for a better life. Part-time teacher, part-time engineer, she finds employment as a governess to one child on a private vessel, a move that whisks her away from her failing ship to surprising luxury and into the orbit of a mysterious, brooding captain. On the Rochester she finds love, confronts corruption and injustice, and struggles to find her place among a community fighting to survive.
Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne is a captivating re-imagining of Jane Eyre. The story of an orphaned, impoverished girl becoming governess to a child in a wealthy household that harbors a secret provides the base. But moving that story to a science fiction future frees the heroine to evolve from the strictures of female characters in the past.
Stella follows her own conscience and set of ethics in all her actions, and she’s willing to give up her new life and her love to help her friends and others. What emerges is a strong heroine who fights for what she believes in and in the process defies her corrupt government to create something better than existed before. Stella provides a good example of how female characters can follow their heads as well as their hearts in the pursuit of being true to themselves.
As an updated classic, Brightly Burning taps into Jane Eyre’s spirit while also evolving her into a modern character. It’s a story that entertains until the last page. I recommend it for readers aged 12 and up.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.