Jane & Edward

A few months ago, I reread my favorite classic novel, Jane Eyre. It’s as perfect as I’d remembered, and I wanted to then explore some retellings of it. One such reimagining I was eager to read is Jane & Edward, the debut novel by Melodie Edwards. This book had been on my radar since last August, and I spent about seven months eagerly anticipating its release. Finally, it came out last week, I bought it on release day, and as soon as I finished the other book I’d been working through, I started this one. Oh, dear reader, this novel fully lived up to and even surpassed my expectations! This modern romance reimagining of Jane Eyre is my favorite retelling yet, and Jane & Edward will be a book I return to and reread often.


After aging out of the foster care system and building a humble life as a waitress, Jane Raine is ready to pursue bigger dreams. She begins working at a Toronto law firm, Rosen, Haythe & Thornfield LLP, where she serves as the personal legal assistant to the majority stakeholder, Edward Rosen. He is notoriously difficult and none of his assistants have stuck around long; most assume Jane, too, won’t last. But despite all of Mr. Rosen’s antics, Jane is determined to keep this job and earn a better life for herself.

Before long, Jane and Edward realize that as opposite as they may seem, they’re actually well matched. They complement each other, grow fond of one another, and wonder if a relationship could really work between them. But Edward has his secrets, and Jane has her own past to contend with. Can they overcome the many hurdles to their own happily ever after?


Jane & Edward is a delightful novel, and I cannot even express how in love I am with it. After years of loving Jane Eyre, I’ve always wanted the chance to focus on the love story between Jane and Mr. Rochester. They’re such compelling characters, and as rich and multi-layered as the classic novel is, I’ve longed for a retelling that strips away the excess in favor of a proper romance. Finally, that contemporary romance reimagining is here, and it’s everything I’d hoped it would be.

If you’ve read Jane Eyre, you’ll recognize many of the key characters and beats of that novel here, but Melodie Edwards has also made this entirely her own. It’s now set in a Toronto law firm, where Edward Rosen (not Rochester) is a partner and Jane Raine (not Eyre) is his new assistant. After being orphaned at 13, aging out of the foster care system, and working for eight years as a waitress, Jane is eager to move her life forward. This new job is exactly the kind of launchpad she needs.

One of my favorite things about Jane & Edward is how the author has breathed new life into the titular characters. They’re still recognizable as themselves: Jane is still practical, calm, and patient, with a dormant passionate side hidden within. Edward is still mercurial, unpredictable, and exacting. But Melodie Edwards has expanded both of them and given them a 21st century update. Like the 2006 BBC series adaptation of Jane Eyre did, she plays up Edward’s boisterous, playful, temperamental qualities. Here, he’s an intimidating lawyer known to make people cry with his blunt remarks; he’s crass and messy. Yet he’s also detail-oriented and caring, and that shows in how he treats Jane. For her part, Jane is utterly professional at first, but soon she develops a certain openness around Mr. Rosen. They have a rapport that works.

The author also made some excellent changes in making Jane & Edward less problematic than the original. She removes unnecessary toxicity and makes the characters more self-aware and willing to correct bad behavior. For example, Edward doesn’t play mind games nearly so much; his aim to make Jane jealous lasts for about two minutes, then he immediately confesses his charade. Edward is also the one who is supremely uncomfortable with pursuing a relationship with his direct employee. He wants to be aboveboard, whether Jane works for a different lawyer within the firm or moves to another firm entirely. Even his secret is less gruesome. He admits to Jane that he has a secret, but that he isn’t ready to tell her yet. Soon, though, he will. Just not soon enough!

Speaking of, this novel also drops the angle of the Bertha character being “crazy.” Here, she’s just not the nicest person and not a great fit. It doesn’t go into mental health or blaming her unnecessarily. I appreciate that this is one more problematic element that’s been eliminated here. It also removes the gothic, spooky aspect of Jane Eyre, but that just makes extra room for the romance to blossom.

The later section when Jane embarks on her own journey of self-discovery is more enjoyable in Jane & Edward than in the original novel, at least for me. There are some interesting reveals that I loved, and I also appreciates how she puts the St. John character in his place. He deserves it! This section also includes a brief but perfect nod to Charlotte Brontë and her literary works. As Jane thinks to herself, she’s been living the Brontë novel experience. How right she is!

Jane & Edward reaches new highs and what I consider a happier ending. There’s less trauma and more joy, but I also love that both Jane and Edward make a commitment to improve their communication and trust. They show maturity and growth, which will only make their relationship stronger in the long-term.

So much of Jane & Edward beautifully captures the spirit and message of Jane Eyre, and fans of Charlotte Brontë’s work will be pleased with this reimagining. However, Melodie Edwards has made this a fully original story, allowing it to stand on its own. Those who have not read Jane Eyre, or those looking for a reimagining that takes readers on a whole new journey, will be equally satisfied.

Final Thoughts

Jane & Edward is everything I’d hoped it would be. Melodie Edwards did a magnificent job of bringing Charlotte Brontë’s characters into the 21st century, expanding on them yet also staying true to their core traits. It’s the pure romance I’ve always wanted out of Jane Eyre, and this will be a book I read again and again.

Melodie Edwards’s next book is due out in February 2024, and I’m already counting down the days to its release. This time, she will reimagine Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and I’m excited to see what modern magic she weaves into this beloved classic!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Get the Book

You can buy Jane & Edward here – it’s available as a paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

Jane & Edward by Melodie Edwards
Reimagining Of…Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
SettingToronto; Vancouver
Number of Pages352
Format I ReadPaperback
Original Publication DateMarch 21, 2023

Official Summary

This powerful reimagining of Jane Eyre, set in a modern-day law firm, is full of romance and hope as it follows the echoing heartbeats of the classic story.

A former foster kid, Jane has led a solitary life as a waitress in the suburbs, working hard to get by. Tired of years of barely scraping together a living, Jane takes classes to become a legal assistant and shortly after graduating accepts a job offer at a distinguished law firm in downtown Toronto. Everyone at the firm thinks she is destined for failure because her boss is the notoriously difficult Edward Rosen, the majority stakeholder of Rosen, Haythe & Thornfield LLP. But Jane has known far worse trials and refuses to back down when economic freedom is so close at hand.
Edward has never been able to keep an assistant—he’s too loud, too messy, too ill-tempered. There’s something about the quietly competent, delightfully sharp-witted Jane that intrigues him though. As their orbits overlap, their feelings begin to develop—first comes fondness and then something more. But when Edward’s secrets put Jane’s independence in jeopardy, she must face long-ignored ghosts from her past and decide if opening her heart is a risk worth taking.

About the Author

Melodie Edwards - credit Dahlia Katz Photography

Credit: Dahlia Katz Photography

Melodie Edwards is the author of Jane & Edward. She has a BA from the University of Toronto, a master’s degree from McMaster University and Syracuse University (2023), studied comedy writing at the Second City Training Centre, and works in communications.

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