Utah writer Lauren Winder Farnsworth’s debut novel “Keeping Kate” takes the beloved classic “Jane Eyre” and spins it on its head.
The novel follows the story of an orphan named Kate, who decides to take a job as a nanny for an 8-year-old girl named Addie. But when Kate meets her employer Tyler, sparks begin to fly — and not the good kind. Kate thinks Tyler is arrogant, rude, inconsiderate and a terrible father. After all, what kind of father leaves his 8-year-old daughter alone for much of the year? No, Kate absolutely does not like him.
But as time passes, Kate slowly begins to realize that the real Tyler is somebody that she really likes, maybe even loves. A whirlwind romance ensues and everything seems to be going smoothly, until the past collides with the future and leaves everything in ruins.
Unable to deal with the fallout, Kate runs away and decides to start over. But Kate quickly discovers that it isn’t all that easy to leave the past behind, and forgetting those you love is nearly impossible. In the end, she must decide if she’s ready to face her past head-on and claim the future she wants for herself.
University of Utah graduate Farnsworth’s novel is a delightful, inventive retelling of the beloved classic "Jane Eyre." Farnsworth follows the original text quite closely, and yet at the same time adds creative twists and masterfully adapts it to a Latter-day Saints background. The novel follows themes from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and characters who are members of the church. There are no instances of violence, strong language or sexual content, making this a fun family read that also inspires meaningful discussions on how to deal with loss, disappointment and faith.
Kate is a fun character to read about. Farnsworth says she wanted to create a character that readers could relate to — one full of flaws and quirks. Farnsworth achieved just that. None of her characters are perfect, and the mistakes they make at times are quite comical. However, the characters are still lovable through it all.
Farnsworth’s debut proves to be a witty, fun read that is great for fans of retellings and cute chick-lit stories.
Danica Baird currently attends BYU, where she studies English, journalism and editing.