I read this book and was gripped by intense envy. This is the reason why you didn’t get an Innkeeper installment yesterday.
I wish I had written this book. I wish I had written it half as well as Victoria did.
A double life with a single purpose: revenge.
Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.
But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.
Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.
Just as he did to her.
Once upon a time there was a girl called Meg. Meg was was kind and sweet. She brought joy to people who knew her and she was a ray of sunshine in their lives. Meg was also insecure and didn’t have a good taste in men. What Meg wanted most of all was to meet the love of her life and start a family. She would’ve been an excellent mother. Her children would be nurtured and loved and never neglected.
Meg met a man called Steven, who was funny and cute. Meg wanted love. Steven wanted a whipping girl to indulge his own insecurities.
Two years later Meg is dead. Steven has accepted the world’s sympathies and moved on. He didn’t know about Jane. Jane, the self-diagnosed sociopath. Jane, the ruthless , deep-water shark, who works as a lawyer for an international corporation, who rubs elbows with diplomats, who has no insecurities, and whose only friend in the entire world is now dead.
Jane has taken a leave of absence. She has flown into town. She dyed her hair. She bought meek flower dresses. She got a job at the corporation Steven works for. Meg was the closest thing Jane had to a soul. Jane is coming.
I have never enjoyed a revenge fantasy more. Monte Cristo is crying tears of joy. This should be required reading for anyone intending to date. The depth of characterization, the nuance, the details, the dry analysis Jane performs as Steven is trying to manipulate her is delicious. I don’t remember the last time I wanted the character to get his comeuppance more. I stayed up till 3:00 am waiting for her to nuke this guy.
I stop at my door. “This is me.”
“Must be noisy here by the stairs.”
I let him get his dig in. Yes, I was too stupid or poor or weak to demand a better apartment. Another barely noticeable insult to grind me down, but I know his game and I hear exactly what he means.
“Thanks for dinner,” I murmur shyly. “It was really, really good.”
“I had an amazing time. You’re a fun girl.”
Stone, Victoria Helen. Jane Doe: A Novel (p. 41). Lake Union Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Steven is a piece of work. The way he works on systematically trying to dismantle her self-esteem is chilling, more so because he is convinced of his own goodness through the whole thing.
“You have a cat?”
This isn’t a question. It’s disgust.
“I adopted her yesterday.”
“Cats are disgusting.”
“They are not! They’re great!”
“They walk through feces and then jump onto countertops.”
“Cats are very clean. Their saliva has antibacterial properties and they constantly clean themselves.”
He shudders. “Right.”
“I like cats,” I whine defensively.
He laughs. “Yeah, you’d better be careful. You’re on your way to being a fat cat lady.”
Even I’m surprised by how quickly he’s turned from flirting to insulting me. I cross my arms as if to protect myself. “It’s one cat. And I’m not fat.”
He snorts. I look out the side window.
“It was just a joke,” he eventually says. When I don’t answer, he huffs. “Come on. Don’t pout. I was kidding.”
“That was really rude.”
“I’m sorry. You surprised me, that’s all. I don’t like cats.”
He’s sorry, but apparently it was my fault the whole time. I should have known he hated cats and conformed to his preferences. Shifty or not, it’s a peace offering, and I’m supposed to take it. Accept the blame and swallow my hurt and be ashamed of my weight and my cat.
“I’m sorry,” I respond quietly.
He pats my hand. Everything is fine now.
“You’re not still pouting, are you?”
I sit straighter and force a laugh. “I’m not pouting.”
“Good. It was a really nice day.”
It was. And I came so close to ruining it.
“How about lunch tomorrow?” he offers.
I smile in response. “That would be nice.”
He drops me off and I wave as I let myself into the lobby. As soon as the door closes behind me, my bright smile twists into a sneer.
I can’t wait to take him down.
Stone, Victoria Helen. Jane Doe: A Novel (pp. 73-74). Lake Union Publishing. Kindle Edition.
It is a great book. Vicious and smart, and sharp. I loved it. Loved it. The ending was so bloody satisfying. Jeaniene Frost had recommended it to me and when I finished, I sent her an email that said just two words “Fuck yeah.” She immediately knew what I was talking about. I don’t usually make our kids read books as they do a fine job selecting them on their own, but I am forcing this one on them.
At $1.99, it’s a steal. As always, your mileage may vary, so try an excerpt first.
Author’s website: http://victoriahelenstone.com