(Release Date: July 3, 2012)
From the Cover:
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?
Jane is a lost soul, she can't remember her past. If she doesn't escape her present, she won't have any future. And if she isn't careful, she'll be used by all those around her.
Birch Grove is an exclusive girl's prep/high school, and Jane is given a scholarship to attend. She sees it as a way out of her life and her hopeless existence. A dream come true. But, as with all dreams, there isn't always a happy ending, and getting what you wished for isn't always what you need. There's more going on at Birch Grove than visible to the eye, and the layers of intrigue need to be peeled away so Jane can discover what has been forgotten and what is yet to come. There are secrets, hidden societies, and dark prophecies that might come true. She'll discover true friends and companionship she thought she'd never find, and love. But, what will be the cost?
Dark Companion by Marta Acosta is a revised, rewritten edition of Marta Acosta's The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove, incorporating a retelling of Jane Eyre (one of my all time favorite stories!!), which is in and of it's self is a dark gothic romance told over the span of a young girl life, filled with unrequited love or maybe it's better to say a love that shouldn't be, but is. In Dark Companion, Jane's story is a hauntingly mysterious dark gothic romance with many undercurrents. If Jane wants to survive, she needs to find a way out of her current life. She needs to better herself, and there's only her to help herself. She doesn't have a family outside of Hosea and he's left her too. But, she buckles down from the rebellious young teen to hard working goal driven girl. And she succeeds, but at what cost? Will she become a companion to the frivolous Lucky who takes her and her blood for granted, or will she fall for his darker older brother, the mysterious and possibly dangerous Jack?
Dark Companion was not a new read for me, I also read The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove, but I have to say, Jane's character has acquired greater definition, more developed, with less background and side story. It's comparison to Jane Eyre is remarkable, I love it!! Marta tells her stories with a slice of humor, most evident this time with the wonderfully glorious characterization of Mary Violet, who waxes poetically (and not always with political correctness) at the drop of a hat and at the top of her voice. She made me laugh on more than one occasion. Jane's story starts with an abusive family to the lost girl trying to make her way, to the realization of love. But, this retelling/reworking of Shadow Girl gives Jane new growth of character, it lets the reader inside to appreciate a greater sense of Jane and her self discovery. Jane was always a likable character, you wanted to reach out to her, to give her hand, to show her which road to travel. She's had so little help in her life, and you hate to see her used in her bid to escape foster care and desperation. Marta Acosta use of the dark gothic atmosphere brings Jane to life with a breath of fresh air, and the story flows together with need, hope, and fear to a blossoming love. The cover redesign is awesome with eye catching detail which all leads to an overview of the story to come. I highly recommend this new YA read. Dark Companion is haunting and will follow you long after the book is closed and the story is over. Paranormal romance/urban fantasy/gothic romance fans will have to give this one a try, it's one not to be missed.
Five out of five fairy kisses for this reader.
I received my copy for review from the author, Marta Acosta. A big thank you to Marta!! All opinions expressed are my own.