Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.
But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.
Oh my goodness, this was one wild ride. I wasn’t expecting it. I mean… okay. I know the story of Jane Eyre (it actually freaked me out when I was little) – so I knew to expect some craziness.
But I didn’t expect to be PUNCHED IN THE FACE MULTIPLE TIMES BY ALL THE FEELS.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let me begin by saying that this is the perfect reimagining of Jane Eyre. In fact, I liked it more than the original story. And even if you aren’t a Jane Eyre fan, give this a go. Brightly Burning is a romance under the stars. Be prepared to be swept away whirlwind of emotions.
I don’t often get this attached to characters, and I’ll say it’s the best feeling ever. I feel like I have a new set of children to PROTECT AT ALL COSTS.
First, we have Stella, the MC, who is beyond precious. She’s the right amount of s
weet yet brutally honest. She won’t let anyone treat her like a rug, but she’ll also do the right thing at her own expense.
Which brings me to Hugo, aka new SMOL book boyfriend. He’s so precious it physically hurts. He’s far from perfect, and as we all know from Jane Eyre, his past is a difficult one. In fact, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t love a retelling because I’m a bit tired of the ‘tortured boy’ trope because often times, they are boring and mean. The good news? Hugo doesn’t fit that trope AT ALL. Like… ladies and gentlemen… we have a snarky one on our hands. And a goofy one. And oh, he’s so precious.
AND THE CREW.
Ahhhh they were all so wonderful. Stella, Hugo’s vivid and vivacious sister was probably my favorite, but be prepared to love everyone! OH OH OH and Stella has some precious friends from back ‘home’ – and I totally fell in love with Jon. Talk about the perfect guy-girl friend scene.
I was surprised at how quickly I was drawn into the plot. We see Stella in her normal life, right on the brink of change. The world is a dark one, where the earth is frozen solid and everyone was forced to evacuate/live on ships – but the ships are running out of resources, and we have the upper/lower class dynamic creating all kinds of struggles. Poor Stella had it super rough, but she’s a tough little cookie. I related to her so much. Anyway, she accepts a job from a mysterious ship orbiting the moon, and the moment you set foot on the Rochester, the story takes off. I don’t want to spoil anything, especially as we’re pre-release here, so my advice is to simply enjoy the ride!
The last 20% happens, and things spiral out of control, and you’ll feel like you’re losing your mind. You know those books that dwindle after things “seem happy” and don’t have enough conflict for an explosive ending? This is not one of those books. By the time the book ended, I felt a bit of whiplash, but I gotta say…
I loved every minute.
A huge thank you to Alexa for letting me read this gorgeous book!!! You guys, she’s a huge inspiration in the writing community and I highly recommend checking out her youtube!
Ps… dear Holywood… Can this be made into a movie? Thanks in advance.