Here is the summary of the book:
Orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. There, for the first time, Jane finds herself accepted by a group of friends. She even starts tutoring the headmistress’s gorgeous son, Lucien. Things seem too good to be true. They are. The more she learns about Birch Grove’s recent past, the more Jane comes to suspect that there is something sinister going on. Why did the wife of a popular teacher kill herself? What happened to the former scholarship student, whose place Jane took? Why does Lucien’s brother, Jack, seem to dislike her so much? As Jane begins to piece together the answers to the puzzle, she must find out why she was brought to Birch Grove—and what she would risk to stay there….
A sense of belonging, family, sensibility and love. A luxury that is not affordable to many. It is this need for a sense of family that pushes many to do things that are not really good or not bad in the sense. It is on this desire for a family that Dark Companion is based on.
Getting a full scholarship from the elite all girls school Birch Grove Academy, our protagonist Jane William seizes this opportunity for a second chance at life away for the violet slum areas of Helmsdale where she had lived her entire life. For the first time Jane feels accepted by a group of friends. That's not all...she goes and falls for the boys who live near. Life seems good for JW, she has a good life at school, she is living in a cottage and tutoring the headmistress' son Lucien...but it does not remain so, there is a reason Jane is brought to the academy....there is a reason she is there and it is more sinister and dark than anyone ever thought of.
Going onto a deeper level than just the paranormal Gothic feel, its about family, chance at a second life. An 'ok' in my books. I definitely like Jane and Jake's character. Jane because she is a strong yet vulnerable character. Strong in the sense that despite her abysmal background she works hard to overcome her current life and go on to a new & better one. But vulnerable too..because she is alone and the promise of family draws in. I like Jake because one he is a good person, two he is dashing and three, he has Jane's best interest at heart and it is clear enough that he loves her. I definitely like Jane's friends though....
But the only character that I didn't like...well its a given....Lucien "Lucky" Radcliffe, Jake's younger brother. While he sounds very likable at first but little by little all the layers to him are peeled off and the darkness in unveiled. He is one of those guys, who are the unattainable - playboy sorts, using girls here and there but never belonging to anyone. Throughout the better half of the book, I was disgusted at Jane for succumbing to his charms and dancing to the 'Lucky' tune.
With a simple and easy to follow narrative, Dark Companion is a fast read. Marta Acosta did a wonderful job, with layering out all the characters and all their dark like layers to be peeled off as we readers proceed. You will definitely feel sick at all the things these people, the "family" can do to achieve what they want. A good read!
"Dark Companion, instills in us in its own dark ways, the sense of family & belonging...and how some of us are much more lucky at it than others"