Grimly Jane by Elle Alexander. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans
Throw the pages and script from Alice In Wonderland, Orphan Annie, Where The Wild Things Are and Nightmare Before Christmas into a boiling pot, and the result will be a sweet and bitter taste of Grimly Jane. This story will resonate with adolescents, and parent’s who read it to their children. The title alone, is enough to capture one’s attention.
Ms. Alexander has created a unique, yet familiar world, where Jane Worthington finds escape and magic, in the Other World, to get revenge on those who tortured her emotionally and physically at the Rudorf Home for Foundlings in Ghastly Hollows. Dame Rudorf, Mrs. Bunton, Elsa Rudorf and Henry, don’t know what awaits them once Jane disappears through the Red Door at the orphanage and becomes a student of Heindorf Von Evil, nor does Jane, though Heindorf’s assistant, Rosamund, tries to warn her.
Acts of kindness, cruelty and plain old low-down meanness, are received by Jane throughout her younger years, after her parents’ have died of fever and she is committed to the children’s home. Once she has escaped, she must choose whether to continue, and impose such suffering on others, or look closely at herself and see if perhaps she has become what it is she has hated for so long.
Grimly Jane is a wonderful adventure, and apparently the beginning of a series, as there are many unanswered questions at the stories end. The illustrations, also by the author, are amazing and fit perfectly with each of the character’s in the book. More time at the school of magic and an ending that comes together a little sharper, and is easier to understand, are the only variations this reviewer would have preferred.
— Gabriel Constans writes fiction and non-fiction, for adults and children. He also writes book reviews for The New York Journal of Books.