Y’all know if I hear about a Jane Eyre retelling, I am going to read it and when I heard about Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood, I was all in. Jane Eyre and magic and cleansing houses of spirits and demons?? Yes, please.
Unfortunately, while there were parts that I loved, there were also parts that just didn’t work for me.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.
Let’s start with what I loved. I loved the characters. I loved Andromeda (Andi), I loved Magnus, and I loved Saba. There were some moments where I liked Jember (especially in terms of his relationship with Saba), but overall, I couldn’t get over what he did to Andi over the years. The abuse she had to deal with because of him.
But let’s talk Andi first. She’s a debtera, an exorcist who “cleans” households of evil spirits. But because she’s not an approved debtera, she’s not really allowed to practice. But since Jember pretty much kicks her out, she has to figure out how to survive on her own. So she heads to Thornfield Hall with a job to remove the evil demons from the place. Little does she know what she’s getting into.
The house…well, it scares the shit out of her, and with all the stuff she has seen over her years with Jember, that’s saying something.
Thornfield Hall also brings her to the attention of Magnus Rochester. The spoiled, charming, and charismatic owner of the hall and he quickly falls head over heels for Andi.
Saba is the…ok, it’s hard not to give spoilers here, but this part surprised the hell out of me so I don’t want to give it away…she is like a helper/maid/lady’s maid around the hall. She helps Andi get acquainted with the hall and helps her with clothes and things. All I’ll say is…she is not what she seems. And she has a past with Jember.
Ok, let’s talk about the romance between Andi and Magnus. It just…didn’t work for me. I found Magnus to be kind of a spoiled man child and Andi deserves so much better than him. I liked him as a character on his own. He’s kind of fun and hopelessly romantic, but for Andi…not so much.
And that’s pretty much my only issue with the book.
There were some slow moments that I thought could’ve been paced better, but other than that, this was a fun, scary AF book. The setting is extraordinary, the characters are well-developed, and the premise is brilliant.
If you’re looking for a unique take on Jane Eyre, Within These Wicked Walls is definitely worth giving a shot. I’m giving it 3.5 stars.
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood is out now!
Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review!
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