When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She’s even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper’s cottage in the center of the birch grove.Something’s not quite right about the school — or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She’s also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother.The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member.
Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school…and be bound to Birch Grove forever?
Lacking Character Connection
Jake! The Shining Star of this Novel!
Dark and Twisted!
Fans of dark, twisted Vampire tales who enjoy a new take on Vampire lore will probably enjoy this book. Jane was a smart heroine to whom I unfortunately couldn’t connect. Jake was a brilliant character from whom I would have loved to see more. He definitely was the shining star in this novel for me. Can I say that the cover is incredibly gorgeous? Because it is!!!
Reviews of Bloggers who loved Dark Companion
And now, I welcome Author Marta Acosta to the Bookworms and I am more than excited to host her!
You might think that it would be weird having the author on the blog after I didn’t enjoy the book so much? Well, this is actually why we got in contact! After posting my review on goodreads Marta contacted me and thanked me for my time and my review!! I was so stunned and we started talking, so I invited her for an Interview and she happily agreed! She’s awesome! She’s clearly one of those positive and shining examples about how authors and bloggers can interact even with a “negative” review!
Marta, thank you so much for agreeing to do this very special Interview. It is not often that an author contacts you after reading a not so favorable review of their book in such a wonderful, polite manner!
Thanks for being here and discussing with me!
Danny, thanks for having me here! Your review showed such thoughtfulness that I wanted to respond, especially since I love Bewitched Bookworms! I do pay attention to thoughtful reviews because I think my writing can always be improved.
Modern Gothic homage to Jane Eyre.
What inspired you to write Dark Companion?
I’ve always loved Jane Eyre and wanted to write a tribute to Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel. I’m fascinated by Gothic tropes: the orphan going to an isolated eerie location, dark secrets, lies, danger.
The story is told from Jane’s POV and here we come directly to the main issue I had: Jane. Would you mind describing and introducing Jane?
Jane is a girl who survived a tragedy that left her without a family or her early memories. She’s raised in abusive foster homes in terrible neighborhoods and realizes that she can escape through education. Soon everyone sees her as a well-behaved honor student, but inside she’s a raging, broken child.
Jane was definitely a very smart girl, however I was really confused by her bad judgment especially regarding Lucky.
I think people assume that I was writing a “heroine” when I was trying to be true to the psychological makeup of a foster child who’s been abused. These young people are distrustful of adults, and they don’t report problems because they could be moved somewhere worse. They’re often incapable of normal emotional connections and often fall into abusive relationships because these relationships seem normal to them. Jane simply doesn’t associate Lucky’s behavior with abuse while a healthy girl would know how wrong it is. This is exactly the reason why Jane’s been brought to Birch Grove Academy: the Family carefully selects broken isolated girls who can be manipulated and controlled. They seek out girls who have no parental guidance or alternatives.
Lucky represents all the things Jane desperately craves: beauty, security, a family, a home. She never says she loves him: she says she wants him and I think there’s a tremendous difference.
I just couldn’t see why Jane didn’t realize Lucky’s real character. Why was Jane so oblivious to the fact that Lucky just used her and wasn’t really good for her.
Jane realizes that Lucky is spoiled and self-centered and she calls him on it. However, when a gorgeous boy gives a girl attention, she will be dazzled, which is why I included the Oscar Wilde quote about the power of great beauty to corrupt.
Jane isn’t thinking about whether Lucky’s good for her any more than another girl would wonder if diamond earrings are “good” for her. Jane’s goal is to succeed in a brutal world; she’d think that “emotional health” is a luxury for the privileged.
The highlight of Dark Companion was Jack! He was a very unique character! Would you mind introducing him to the reader from your perspective as his creator?
Glad you like him! I happen to think that Edward Rochester treated Jane Eyre terribly, but I did like their banter, when she would always match him, and Jack was inspired by that. I love funny, quirky guys, and I wanted him to be a sort of grungy, creative type who sets his own rules. He was a boy who always dreamed about old folk tales and magic and when he first sees Jane, she seems like those woodland creatures he imagined. He knows exactly why she’s been brought to Birch Grove and he’s fighting with his own desire to be with her and his wish that she leave for her own safety.
Thank you again Marta! I know many people loved Dark Companion and I’m looking forward reading more from you!
Thank you, Dani, for having me at Bewitched Bookworms and letting me share my thoughts about my new book! This is what I love about the internet – that we can discuss books across continents.
I hope you enjoyed our little discussion and I strongly recommend checking out some other reviews and as usual… decide for yourself if Dark Companion is for you:) Also, you truly should consider following Marta on her Blog – Vampire Wire, this is actually how I got in contact with her because I was following her blog and love reading her posts!