Jane. Finished 9-11-12, rating 3.75/5, fiction, 320 pages, pub.2012
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. (from Goodreads)
I know next to nothing about the Tarzan story. I vaguely remember seeing him fly vine by vine through the jungle in black in white as a kid flipping through channels. And that’s it. So, when I was offered a chance to learn his story from a viewpoint that interested me, I was excited. I was pleasantly surprised at this telling of Jane’s story.
Jane is highly educated, opinionated and more progressive than her peers. More interested in bones than marriage, she is the first woman to attend Cambridge Medical School and eager to join her father on one of his expeditions, much to her mother’s horror. Father and daughter depart for the African jungle hoping to find the missing Darwin gene and instead find treachery, death, lies and separation. When Jane is rescued by Tarzan she moves beyond the typical heroine and becomes a woman and scientist discovering passion for the first time.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jane’s adventures and Tarzan’s primal heroism and know that this is the closest I’ll ever get to an expedition such as this one. With that said, adventure stories aren’t really my thing so there were small chunks of jungle time that I found myself skimming, but this is not a judgement on the storytelling, only on my reading habits.
This book was authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate and is timed to celebrate the first publication of Tarzan 100 years ago. Burroughs even makes an appearance at the beginning and end of the book.
As a newbie to Tarzan and Jane, I was totally captivated by their world and plan to check out more of Robin Maxwell’s novels about historical women.
Thanks to PR by the Book for getting this book in my hands. Isn’t the cover cool?