Or how to succeed in publishing without really trying. Answer? Copy Jane Eyre.
Not only is Jane Eyre (in a severely stripped form) the official template for some publishing houses specializing in serial romances, but it is a favourite novel to be just plain ripped off. No copyright, no problem.
The following is a summary of 'How Nancy Drew Saved My Life' by Lauren Baratz-Logsted:
In her fourth novel, Baratz-Logsted, author of The Thin Pink Line (2003), offers the charming tale of a literature-loving nanny. At 23, Charlotte Bell has just had her heart broken by the married man she unwisely fell in love with. She decides to take another position, as nanny for the American ambassador in Iceland. Once she takes up residence in the large, creaky house and meets her imperious, forbidding employer, Edgar Rawlings, she can't help but feel like literature's most famous governess, Jane Eyre. But Charlotte turns to Nancy Drew (channeling the girl detective) for help investigating the more puzzling aspects of her situation, such as the silence surrounding Edgar's mysteriously absent wife and the strange laughter she hears coming from behind a closed door. To make matters worse, Charlotte is starting to fall for Edgar, whose engagement to an Icelandic ice queen seems imminent. Readers who appreciate classic love stories will enjoy the old-fashioned dialogue and Charlotte's fanciful imagination. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Old fashioned dialogue stolen directly from Jane Eyre, according to this reader:
I was really enjoying this book when I realized that it was practically an EXACT replica of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Even some of the dialogue is the same!
I was rather shocked when I began reading about where Charlotte goes into the library to meet Mr. Rawlings for the first time (which is actually the second because she met him a few hours earlier when he almost runs her over) and they have the same conversation that is in Jane Eyre; where he asks her if she likes presents and she replies that she has had little experience with them. I shut the book right there!
The names of the characters are extremely parallel too, which is even more annoying! Charlotte Bell is the main heroine=Charlotte Bronte. The hero is Edgar Rawlings=Edward Rochester; the housekeeper is Mrs. Fairly=Mrs Fairfax, the dog is Captain=Pilot....it goes on and on.
I just can't believe that she actually got a publisher to publisher her book with the blatant copying of the the characters and the story-line are amazingly unbelievable!
Not to mention, Jane Eyre was written under a pseudonymn. The full title was: Jane Eyre: An Autobiography Edited by Currer Bell.
ETA: I realise that the wording of this post is stronger than I had intended. I did not mean to imply that the author of this particular book has plagiarised Jane Eyre (ex. 'stolen,' 'rip off.'). In addition, I want to make it clear that I have my information from a third party, and have not read the book myself.