Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne
Earth has entered into an ice age.
In order to survive, humans made a choice to stay on earth and brave the elements, or turn to the final frontier: space.
Stella Ainsley, a descendant of the space pioneers, works aboard the Stalwart doubling as an engineer and instructor while pursuing her love of art during her spare time. While the Stalwart specializes in agriculture and provides food to the rest of the fleets, the seemingly unending electrical problems and outdated equipment are making the Stalwart’s days numbered. In order to escape the impending disaster, Stella hopes to find a governess position on another ship. Her options are looking bleak, until she receives a message from a private ship called the Rochester.
Suddenly, Stella is thrust into a world of luxury with advanced technology, limitless water, a library filled with physical books, and nineteen-year-old Captain Hugo’s life. As the two begin to spend more time in each other’s company, Stella realizes Hugo’s dark family secrets are the cause of his guarded and unpredictable behavior.
However, the longer Stella is aboard the Rochester the more mysteries begin to mount. Chilling laughter, burning bedrooms, heartbreak, and sabotage are just the beginning and it’s up to Stella to try and put an end to it all or walk away from her new home...and the man she has grown to love.
In this stellar retelling of Jane Eyre, believe in the unexpected, take a journey through space, and welcome aboard the Rochester.
Taking classic literature into the modern age is no easy feat, yet Alexa Donne seamlessly gathers the essence of Jane Eyre and transforms it into her own imaginative, interstellar retelling that will have readers glued to the page.
Here are some elements that I enjoyed about the book:
The Familiar and the Reinvented
In Brightly Burning, Donne took familiar spaces (such as the red room and Thornfield Hall) and added unique elements of her own creation to completely reinvent them and leave readers relishing each twist.
For instance, Stella is full of artist talent and holds a nurturing spirit with her charges, but she is also a young woman of measure. She has no problem getting her hands dirty (literally) to save the day or speak her mind at an injustice. By fleshing out her characters, Donne was able to pull these beloved characters forward from the past and make them relatable to the modern reader. Stella’s wit and strong spirit not only makes her endearing, but it also places her in a unique class being an empowered individual.
Love vs Love
Jane and Edward’s love story is one that has lasted the ages, but Stella and Hugo’s gradual love is one that rivals time and space. Brightly Burning features a lot of Stella and Hugo scenes (like intimate moments in the library) which will have readers rooting for a happy ending.
Brilliant and Brightly Burning
Lastly, I thought it was just a brilliant book that combined romance, mystery, and humor in such a way that readers will want to revisit the in the Rochester in the future! Brightly Burning was a fantastic debut novel that certainly set a high standard for Alexa Donne to follow in her future works.
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Thank you so much for reading.