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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan

Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan - Robin Maxwell

As soon as I saw Jane Goodall’s enthusiastic recommendation for this retelling of Tarzan from Jane’s point of view I knew I had to read it. In this version set in the early 1900’s Jane is a lively, adventuresome young women determined to challenge the conventions of the day by becoming a scientist. Her heroes are women like Mary Kingsley, the Victorian era African explorer, and Jane and her father head to Africa seeking fossil evidence of Darwin’s missing link between ape and man. Unfortunately their African expedition is led by a man who turns out to be a ruthless treasure hunter, and when things go horribly wrong and Jane is attacked by a leopard she wakes up high in a jungle canopy nest under the care of Tarzan.


At first Jane is completely dependent on Tarzan, but when her wounds heal she learns to run along tree branches, swing from vines, hunt for food and wrestle. After figuring out how to communicate, Tarzan teaches Jane the ways of the jungle and she tells him about the wider world. For an adventure story this is not breathlessly paced, but it’s rich with setting details and character backstories. Both Jane and Tarzan have discoveries to make and family to avenge. In a funny, ingenious twist the novel is written as if Jane is recounting her story to Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs, and he appears as a character at the beginning and end of the book. Loved it.