Title: Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan
Author: Robin Maxwell
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
How I Read It: ARC received from the publisher – The views expressed in my review are mine alone and I have received no compensation for these opinions.
Synopsis: Cambridge, England: 1905. Jane Porter is hardly a typical woman of her time. The only female student in Cambridge University’s medical program, she is far more comfortable in a lab coat, dissecting corpses, than she is in a corset and gown, sipping afternoon tea. A budding paleoanthropologist, Jane dreams of travelling the globe in search of fossils that will prove the evolutionary theories of her scientiﬁc hero, Charles Darwin.
When dashing American explorer Ral Conrath invites Jane and her father on an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Rising to the challenge, Jane ﬁnds an Africa that is every bit exotic and fascinating as she has always imagined. But she quickly learns that the lush jungle is full of secrets—and so is Ral Conrath. When danger strikes, Jane ﬁnds her hero, the key to humanity’s past, and an all-consuming love in one extraordinary man: Tarzan of the Apes.
Jane is the ﬁrst version of the Tarzan story written by a woman and authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. Its 2012 publication will mark the centennial of the publication of the original Tarzan of the Apes.
*Synopsis taken from Goodreads
My Review: As I started reading this book, I realized I hadn’t ever read anything about Tarzan and Jane before. In fact, aside from seeing the Disney movie like a decade ago, my exposure to their story is pretty limited.
I actually consider that a good thing, because I really had no preconceived notions about the tale ahead of time. Although Tarzan is a bit of a romantic figure, I didn’t picture him in that way, and I think I was able to fall in love with him a bit alongside Jane.
This story is a piecing together what Jane’s life was like before her trip into the African jungle, the circumstances in which she meets Tarzan, and the development of their relationship from there. It seems like a pretty harrowing life, with danger all around in the trees and on the jungle floor.
The novel also brings us a couple of loathsome villains, both in human and animal form. A lot of the characters seem to be from the original novel, with the circumstances altered a bit based on creative license. As he always does, Tarzan comes to Jane’s rescue when she needs it most, securing himself as protector, savior, and all around appealing guy.
Jane is exactly what her mother doesn’t want her to be, a trait I always admire in a heroine – it reminds me of myself and is a reinforcement that things can work out really well if you just follow your own path. Even though we can’t really live her story in this day and age, the adventure she experiences and evolution she goes through is quite inspirational.
I was already a fan of Robin Maxwell, so I jumped at the chance to read this one right as it was coming out. She doesn’t disappoint with this novel, and I found it to be as entertaining as her other historical fiction. As a reader, we know there’s more to this story than what we see in this book, so I think it leaves room for a potential sequel down the road, which would be equally thrilling!
Read this book if: I’m guessing people who are big fans of the Tarzan story will like this one, as will historical fiction readers in general.
My Rating: 4/5 – Borderline amazing!