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Welcome to 1985. A 1985, in which the Crimean War is still being fought, fictional characters can enter and leave books apparently at will, and dodos are the pet of choice for many. In this world is literary detective Thursday Next, whose job it is to solve crimes against literature. Thursday finds herself thrown headfirst into a dangerous operation when Acheron Hades, the third most dangerous man in the world kidnaps Jane Eyre from Thornfield, leaving that classic novel unrecognisable. In addition, Thursday is preoccupied with romantic issues, Shakespearean issues (who really wrote those plays?!) and trying to stop the Crimean War.

I loved this book. Thursday Next is an extremely likeable heroine; plucky and determined, but fallible at the same time.  She is easily (and unsurprisingly) the best drawn character in the book.

The writing flows easily; Fforde has quick turn of phrase and I found the book hard to put down.

The story is very funny, and although totally surreal, it’s easy to follow. I loved the inclusion of Rochester as a character in this novel (it made me love the character even more). Fantasy is not my favourite genre, but Jasper Fforde may be the author to change that. I am already looking forward to reading the sequels – and I have a new favourite fictional heroine in Thursday Next! My only word of warning is this – if you haven’t read Jane Eyre, and plan to do so, then do not read this book first!

(Author’s website can be found here.)

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