Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.


It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.


When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.


Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.


Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

Jane has been struggling to keep a job since she was injured in a fey attack five years ago.  It left her partial disfigured (her face is scarred) and when she sees an ad about a child born during the Great War she assumes that the child is fey cursed and she can help.  Problem is Dorie isn’t cursed like Jane.  She doesn’t bear scars but can move things without touching them.  According to Dorie’s father, her mother was killed during the last month of the war and taken over by the fey while pregnant.  Dorie has motor skill issues as she uses her powers to move objects and does not want to use her hands for anything.  In order for Dorie to blend into society Jane needs to help her control the curse and act “normal”.

I found Jane’s frustration with Dorie a little off-putting since if they can’t keep a governess obviously there is something going on and one day isn’t going to break her of a habit.  Also, while I completely sympathize with Jane in regards to being a woman who is independent and can support herself, I didn’t like her lashing out at others when she felt even slightly offended by something said to her.  Most of the time I think she reacted too severely to people when they didn’t mean something the way she took it or just because she didn’t like something they said.  There is a difference between defending yourself and just being rude.  As Jane finds that iron helps control Dorie’s curse like her own, she also notices that it actually seems to be hurting Dorie not helping as she becomes compliant, almost sickly.  Once Jane realizes this she begins to investigate how she and Dorie might be able to use their powers for good if they can be controlled without iron and during the process finds out a horrible truth to the fey curse.

I’ve never read Jane Eyre, nor have I seen a movie or TV version so I was very open to the retelling since I don’t know much about the original version and I wouldn’t be comparing the two the entire time I was reading.  When I saw the retelling had a fey angle I was even more intrigued since I’ve just started opening up to that genre. I really enjoyed the book and look forward to see where the story goes into the fey world as well building more on Edward and Jane’s relationship.

3.75/5

Thanks to Tor/Forge  for sending me a copy for review.

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2 thoughts on “Ironskin by Tina Connolly

  1. I didn’t know about the Jane Eyre bent on this book! Interesting…..but this Jane does not exactly sound like a new BBF in the works. I have been eyeing this book, thanks for the review!

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