Jane is the seventh book I've read by Robin Maxwell, who enjoys writing fictional accounts of the strong and sometimes forgotten or overlooked women of history.
I'm sure most readers will have a basic understanding of the Tarzan story: English child grows up in the wilds of Africa to become Tarzan of the Apes, as told to us by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912. Ashamedly, I haven't read this classic, probably put off by the comics and cartoon spin offs I came across as a kid. I felt safe in the hands of Robin Maxwell though, and so it was that I embarked on the story of Jane - The Woman Who Loved Tarzan.
Jane Porter is a budding paleoanthropologist and the only female enrolled in the Cambridge University medical program. Her father is a scientist and explorer and together with a guide, they put together an expedition and head to Africa in pursuit of fossilised remains of the missing link species.
I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected depth to the story, although it has to be said that the first third of the book - concerned with planning the expedition to Africa - was slow going compared to the excitement of the story when Jane reaches Africa. My favourite parts were when Jane and Tarzan were learning to communicate with each other.
Jane is intelligent, capable and a woman ahead of her time, and far more than just Tarzan's love interest. Maxwell's writing shows a deep respect for the original work and in fact Jane has been endorsed by the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate.
The ending of Jane cleverly makes reference and fits in with the original Tarzan of the Apes, inspiring most readers to pick up the classic and find out more.
My rating= ***