Reviews: A Breath of Eyre and A Touch of Scarlet

 A Breath of Eyre (Unbound #1)
by Eve Marie Mont
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Goodreads summary:
In this stunning, imaginative novel, Eve Marie Mont transports her modern-day heroine into the life of Jane Eyre to create a mesmerizing story of love, longing, and finding your place in the world... Emma Townsend has always believed in stories-the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates. Perhaps it's because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn't come close to filling the void left by her mother's death. And her only romantic prospect-apart from a crush on her English teacher-is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma's confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre...

Reading of Jane's isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane's body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she's never known-and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane's story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own...


What I thought:
I love Jane Eyre, so I was excited to pick this up and see how the author retold that story in this one. It wasn't exactly as I thought it would be. Emma is pretty reserved, like Jane is in Jane Eyre. She's quiet, feels she's plain, and doesn't really have any friends. She does have a family acquaintance, Gray, who she is feeling some attraction to and she has a new roommate at her boarding school that she is hoping will be a friend. Everything doesn't quite go as she thinks it will.

The poor girl almost dies three times in this novel and each of those times she is tempted to not come back to life. She doesn't feel that she is really wanted or that her life is meaningful in any way. Her mother passed away several years ago when she was depressed and committed suicide. Her father has remarried and barely talks to her and her stepmother seems to just tolerate her. She finds herself very alone. The second time she almost dies she is carried away into Jane's world where she begins to feel more at home there than in her real life.

I liked the story for the most part. There were a few things that bothered me. One was that the parts where she was living as Jane didn't work for me. It was like reading a simpler version of the actual book. and since I've read Jane Eyre several times, it just didn't feel right to me. I also didn't understand all the hype regarding Gray's secret. Yes, it was tragic, but I didn't feel what happened was something that he should have really taken blame for, or have it be such a big deal to the rumor mill or his future. I also didn't see why Emma reacted the way she did because of this. It seemed like the drama was just a little too unrealistic. If the circumstances would have been different, then maybe I wouldn't have felt that way.

It was an interesting way that the author used another story as a basis, although this isn't strictly a retelling. This might be a fun way to be introduced to Jane Eyre, if you haven't read it already.

Content: Some innuendo, a few swear words
Genre: YA Romance
Publication date: March 27th 2012 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Source: Library
Rating:


A Touch of Scarlet (Unbound #2)
ARC
by Eve Marie Mont
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Goodreads summary:
The compelling heroine of Eve Marie Mont’s novel A Breath of Eyre returns to find truth and fiction merging through the pages of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic, The Scarlet Letter…

Emma Townsend is back at prestigious Lockwood Prep, but her world has altered immeasurably since her tumultuous sophomore year. The best change of all: her boyfriend, Gray. And though Gray is leaving for Coast Guard training, Emma feels newly optimistic, even if the pain of her mother’s long-ago death still casts a shadow.

Yet Emma isn’t the only one who’s changed. Her friend and roommate, Michelle, is strangely remote, and old alliances are shifting in disconcerting ways. Soon Emma’s long-distance relationship with Gray is straining under the pressure, and Emma wonders if she’s cracking too. How else to explain the vivid dreams of Hester Prynne she’s been having since she started reading The Scarlet Letter? Or the way she’s found herself waking in the woods? As her life begins to echo events in the novel, Emma will be forced to choose between virtue and love. But can she forge a new future without breaking her heart?


What I thought:
Emma used to just dream when she slept or when she got seriously hurt, now she seems to be dreaming while awake. This time she  lapses into The Scarlet Letter. In A Breath of Eyre, Emma is depressed at several points and is trying to deal with what happened to her mother and how alone she feels, so I felt like her dreams were her way of coping with those things. In this second book she begins lapsing into things when her life doesn't seem to be quite so tumultuous. It's only later, when she feels heartbroken, that I could see her needing that escape, but by then she had already had a few lapses. I almost feel like she was becoming extremely depressed even when she shouldn't have been. How she acted in the dreams and reacted to them was also quite a bit different from last time, so I felt there was some consistency missing.

I also thought that her time with Gray would really open her up a little and give her more confidence. I thought it would also make her much happier. However, she almost seems more reserved and less confident than in the first book. She also doesn't really stand up for herself.

Her friend, Michelle, does something that she feels really guilty about. Then Emma does something that is just as bad. However, it seems like it all gets blown way over proportion and is one-sided. Cheating is just cheating regardless of how it happened or who it was with. It just bothered me how it was really no big deal, but other things were stressed more. I felt like some subjects that deserved more of a spotlight weren't delved into enough and could have been handled a little bit better. Smoking, drugs, and drinking are completely acceptable, except that Emma doesn't participate. Michelle becomes friends with their arch-enemy and a lot of that just seemed so wrong to me. Even in the last book, Michelle didn't seem extremely loyal or consistent, but in this one I just didn't even understand why Emma was friends with her at all or why Michelle acted like she did. I actually didn't really care for Michelle in this one at all or really any of the characters, except Owen. He seemed to be the only consistent character and he's just a great guy.

There was a lot of drama, gossiping, this person not talking to that person, this person liking that person and this person not liking that person....I'm definitely not a teenager anymore and I was fairly mellow so a lot of that stuff just annoyed me. I also thought Gray was more involved in Emma and the other girls' lives, who are all juniors, unrealistically after graduating and moving on. So, this probably just isn't the type of book I would enjoy reading.

That being said, I think Emma and the other characters showed how many changes occur during those teen years. Most teens are trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do. There are crazy hormones, lots of mistakes, and losing or gaining friends. It's just was a lot to absorb because in this story there are several different individuals all making these changes at the same time and it seemed like a decision would be made and then changed.

Content: Some innuendo, a few swear words, homosexual content (if that bothers you)
Genre: YA Romance
Publication date: March 26th 2013 by K-Teen
Source: NetGalley
Rating:




Have you read either of these? Are you planning to?

Do you like retellings? I do if it's done right, which to me means that the author makes the story their own and it doesn't really feel like they just copied the original, adding new names and changing the conversations. There were several from debut authors last year and several that I loved, including: For Darkness Shows the Stars by







Disclosure: One of the books reviewed I was given for free by an author or publisher, or through NetGalley or Edelweiss. This in no way influences the opinions shared in my review. You may see my complete policy on the sidebar and on my policies page. This post also contains links to an affiliate program. If you make a purchase of any type using these links, I receive a small kickback. 


4 comments

  1. I haven't read them yet, but I was planning to. I love the story from Jane Eyre and retellings can be so much fun! I totally agree about Cinder, Scarlet & the princess series from Jessica Day George. All these retellings make me so happy <3 I'm sorry that the second book didn't work out for you. I can understand that the drama is annoying.

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    Replies
    1. That second one was a hard review for me to write. I had originally planned on not posting negative reviews on here and after this one I think I'll try to stick to that more.

      I think I also wasn't in the mood for the drama, so that probably made it worse for me. I don't feel like the author's writing was bad or anything - I just didn't like the characters and story in that one. I'm curious to see what you think when you do read them.

      I'm glad you like retellings! I have found so many good ones lately. Just thinking about them make me smile! :)

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  2. I agree with you generally. I applaud the creativity in these. They're not really retellings, more like magical realism or something. I thought the first book was stronger. I reviewed the second one on goodreads and I also mentioned the excessive drama. But I will still read book three because of the Paris setting :)

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    Replies
    1. I agree. It definitely is a different way of using the classics in a new work of fiction. The Paris setting is tempting! :)

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