Book Spotlight/Excerpt: Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by: Robin Maxwell

Publisher: Tor Books

Publish Date: September 18, 2012

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Cambridge, England: 1905.

Jane Porter is hardly a typical woman of her time. The only female student in Cambridge University's medical program, she is far more comfortable in a lab coat, dissecting corpses, than she is in a corset and gown sipping afternoon tea. A budding paleontologist, Jane dreams of travelling the globe in search of fossils that will prove the evolutionary theories of her scientist hero, Charles Darwin.

When dashing American explorer Ral Conrath invites Jane and her father on an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Rising to the challenge, Jane finds an Africa that is every bit as beautiful and fascinating as she has always imagined. But she quickly learns that the lush jungle is full of secrets--and so is Ral Conrath. When danger strikes, Jane finds her hero, the key to humanity's past, and an all-consuming love in one extraordinary man: Tarzan of the Apes.

Excerpt: Chicago Public Library, April 1912

Good Lord, she was magnificent! Edgar thought. Infuriatingly bold. He had many times fantasized about women such as this Jane Porter, but he honestly believed they existed only in his imagination. The vicious heckling she had endured for the past hour in the darkened room would have broken the strongest of men, yet there she stood at the podium casting a shadow on the startling image projected by the whirring episcope on the screen behind her, back straight as a rod, head high, trying to bring order back into the hall.

Her age was indeterminate—somewhere approaching thirty, but her presence was one of striking vitality and self-assurance. She was tall and slender beneath the knee-length suit coat of fine brown wool. Her honey-colored hair was tucked up beneath a simple toque of black felt, not one of those large frivolous feathered creations that these days hung perilously cantilevered over a woman’s face. Emma wished desperately for one of those freakish hats, and Edgar was secretly glad they were still too poor to afford it.

“These claims are preposterous!” cried a man seated halfway back in the crowded room. He had the look of an academic, Edgar thought.

“These are not claims, sir. They are the facts as I know them, and physical evidence, here, right before your eyes.” There were hoots of derision at that, and catcalls, and Jane Porter’s chin jutted an inch higher.

“This is clearly a hoax,” announced a portly bearded man who brazenly walked to the table in front of the podium and swept his hand above the massive skeleton displayed on it. “And a bad hoax at that. Why, you haven’t even tried to make the bones look old.”

The audience erupted in laughter, but the woman spoke over the commotion in a cultured British accent with more equanimity than Edgar thought humanly possible.

“That is because they are not old. I thought I made it clear that the bones came from a recently dead specimen.”

“From a living missing link species,” called out another skeptic. The words as they were spoken were meant to sound ridiculous.

“All you’ve made clear to us today, Miss Porter, is that you should be locked up!”

“Can we have the next image, please?” the woman called to the episcope operator.

“I’ve had enough of this claptrap,” muttered the man sitting just in front of Edgar. He took the arm of his female companion, who herself was shaking her head indignantly, and they rose from their seats, pushing down the row to the side aisle.
This first defection was all it took for others to follow suit. Within moments a mass exodus was under way, a loud and boisterous one with rude epithets shouted out as hundreds of backs were turned on the stoic presenter.

Author Bio: Robin Maxwell grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Tufts University School of Occupational Therapy, and practiced in that field for several years before moving to Hollywood to become a parrot tamer, casting director and finally a screenwriter. Working for the major studios and networks she wrote comedy, drama and even feature animation for Disney. Her credits include "Passions," a CBS movie of the week, starring Joanne Woodward.

A bestselling author, screenwriter and Huffington Post blogger, Maxwell specializes in women "ahead of their time." Her historical fiction novels take readers straight to the heart of the period, offering fresh and unique perspectives on well known figures from the past. Moving like a detective through the brittle pages of history she finds the "untold" stories, then tells them from the heart. "With Robin Maxwell...history doesn't come more fascinating" (Entertainment Weekly).

Robin's latest novel, JANE: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan, is at first glance a departure from historical fiction. Yet while taking two of literature's most beloved and iconic characters into a world of exotic adventure, it was only natural that she use her skills as a historical researcher to entwine real people and events with life-long passions for archaeology, ancient civilizations and the search for the "missing link" in human evolution. Set during the post-Darwinian scientific revolution at the turn of the twentieth century, Maxwell's Jane Porter is a budding paleoanthropologist with a rebellious streak who will make a discovery that will rock the world -- just as her own world is unexpectedly rocked by love for a gorgeous young savage reared by anthropoid apes.

Maxwell's previous book, O, Juliet, fused the classic characters of Romeo and Juliet with the historical Florentine families on which Shakespeare based his original play. Signora da Vinci tells the story of Caterina da Vinci, Leonardo's mother, a woman who has been remarkably absent in most historical accounts of the era, but who nonetheless gave birth to one of the greatest geniuses of all time. Robin Maxwell's historical fiction classic, The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, has been published in 16 languages and is now in its twenty-fourth printing. 


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