Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Historical Fiction Book Tours Book Review: Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan

Author: Robin Maxwell
Title: Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan
Publisher: Tor Books
Publish Date: Sept 18, 2012
Buy: Amazon
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 traveling 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 to join an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Africa is every bit as exotic and fascinating as she has always imagined, but Jane 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 publication marks the centennial of the original Tarzan of the Apes.

Review: I have to admit, I didn't know much about the Tarzan stories when I signed on for this tour, but something about this book made me want to read it. I think it is because it was the years shortly after Queen Victoria's reign that really pulled me in, and because Jane was really a forward thinking woman.

I also liked how she brought Edgar Rice Borroughs into the story. It really gave Tarzan a different perspective. I mean these were adventure books. Robin successfully turns it into a romance and she does it without causing damage to the original stories that Borroughs wrote.

Robin Maxwell really brings the characters to life for a new audience and it was interesting to see the Tarzan story told from "Jane"'s point of view, in this case, Jane Porter.  Seeing her interaction with Taran and how they come to It is hard to imagine a woman growing up at the end of the Victorian age, living in the jungles of Africa, much less alone.

It definitely makes me hungry to read Borroughs original stories to see how Maxwell's held up to them.

The story starts off slowly. It really is Jane's story and for it to appear authentic, you have to get to know her and her family. So yes, the first hundred pages drag, but if you continue on, the reward is great.

Once you are given all the back story of how Jane came to be in the jungle and how Tarzan found her, you begin to learn about Tarzan and more importantly what made him who is.

The parts were she reads his parents journals to him are heartbreaking, especially when he realizes again that John and Alice were his parents. It is more heartbreaking then when Jane learns from Tarzan that her father has died. Though later in the story, you find that it wasn't the case.

This is a breathtaking book and one worth reading. The pacing may be slow at times, but that just means you need to savor the words more.

Rating: 4 flowers

About the Author

ROBIN MAXWELL is the national bestselling author of eight historical fiction novels featuring powerful women, including Signora da Vinci and the award-winning Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, now in its twenty-fourth printing. She lives in the high desert of California with her husband, yogi Max Thomas.

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