Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
If you took Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and added in some scintillating steam, you will find Skye Warren’s Private Property, the first book of her Rochester trilogy. This story follows Jane Mendoza, an orphan and product of the foster system, who comes to Maine to become a nanny for Paige, the niece of Beau Rochester, a billionaire. Jane feels instantly drawn to Mr. Rochester even though his personality is difficult. He’s gruff, rude, and disdainful towards Jane. Additionally, Jane’s initial experiences with Paige are difficult. As time progresses, though, Jane feels drawn to Beau Rochester, their chemistry clear from the early pages of Private Property, but Mr. Rochester warns her of his secrets. Before the end of this book, it becomes clear that there is more afoot at Rochester’s estate. Be prepared because Warren leaves you with a big cliffhanger at the end of this book, preparing you for more to come in the second book of the trilogy, Strict Confidence.
Now, you should know that my go-to read for years (this means I did an annual read of it) is Jane Eyre. There is something scintillating about Jane overcoming the odds set against her from her past and the triumph of her love affair with Rochester in the face of his secrets. It’s brooding and dark and ominous as you read it, and Skye Warren’s Private Property is no different. She continues on in her wheelhouse with his book, placing us in the realm of dark romance even though I’ve read darker romance from her than you’ll find in this book. But then again, this is the first book of the trilogy and, if Beau Rochester is to be believed, he has much in store for Jane Mendoza. This means there are promises to be kept in the next two books.
What I see Warren doing in this book, however, is placing her oftentimes over-the-top dark romance in our world. Throughout the story, Warren uses the characterizations of Jane and Beau to elaborate on ideas about wealth parity and the deficiencies of the foster system for POC. Sprinkled through her story are facts about these ideas. I both loved and struggled with this story choice. I found that these moments interrupted Jane and Rochester’s progression. However, as romance seeks to become more socially mindful, it’s understandable about Warren’s intent. I simply think it might have been done in a more fluid way.
Additionally, Private Property feels introductory. In many ways, it follows the early parts of the Jane Eyre story with obvious differences. However, I didn’t feel a big emotional connection to this couple yet, and I think this book is meant to introduce us to the characters and the beginning aspects of the story. If you’re looking for an emotional attachment to these characters, I don’t think you’ll find it yet.
Is there a huge promise of a titillating story in future books? Absolutely. C’mon…this is Skye Warren. There are shades of it in Private Property. Yet, there is still much to uncover and I’m hoping that, as more of the story is revealed, I will fall deeper into the rabbit hole of Skye Warren’s delicious romance.
In love and romance,