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Book Review: Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan

Book Review:

Jane Was Here

by Sarah Kernochan

Reviewed by Susan May

Follow @susanmaywriter


One of the most talked about books of the late seventies was “Audrey Rose” by Frank De Felitta.  A frightening tale of reincarnation, it not only sparked a movie adaption but also began an era of passionate discussion on reincarnation. 

For years after, I devoured books on reincarnation finding convincing supporting anecdotal evidence.  Even the actress Shirley MacLaine is adamant she has lived multiple lives—one, famously, as a lover of ancient emperor Charlemagne.

So when I first discovered Sarah Kernochan’s book, ‘Jane Was Here’, there was an immediate sense of Déjà vu.  All the memories of my pleasure and wonder when reading “Audrey Rose” flooded back.  A reincarnation novel, I thought—it’s been too long between past lives.

 In the first part of “Jane Was Here” we meet the strange mannered twenty-three year old Jane, knocking at an ungodly hour, on the door of Brett, claiming it to be her house.  Also mysteriously drawn to the town of Graynier, Brett is renting the home with his ten-year-old son, Colin.  Brett immediately overwhelmed by strong feelings of love for Jane, aids her in a determined search to discover her past life identity.  Colin, less enamoured than his Father and, guided by his superstitious friend Gita, believes Jane’s real purpose is evil.

Eighteenth century Jane Pettigrew tells her story, in part two, through a section of letters from herself to her lover.  These letters are a window into the innocence of this Jane, and they build dramatically to the ultimate question of the story: what happened to this Jane?

Amongst the present day townsfolk is another group of characters, all with their own dark stories whose paths, in a karmic twist, will eventually intercept Jane’s. The revelation of these character’s roles in Jane’s previous life brings the reader a satisfying ending that they will not see coming.

Sarah Kernochan is an Oscar winning screenwriter, and there is a spellbinding cinematic mood to this story.  You will close this book but find days later that the idea has seeped into your consciousness.  Kernochan’s poetic vision of reincarnation and fate will truly haunt you. 

You can purchase Sarah's book here

Flourishnote: Read Susan May's interview with Sarah Kernochan here.

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