This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Small Publisher
Released on March 21, 2016
Source: Book Tour Provided
Jane Eyre has long been a favorite story since I read it as a ten year old girl. I wanted to be Jane Eyre and I had a crush on the dark, broody Mr. Rochester who becomes known to the reader through Jane’s eyes. That crush is still with me nearly forty years later. I discovered this book and had to have it when I saw it was the story of Jane Eyre retold in a companion novel from Edward Rochester’s first person perspective. My emotions were in his grip from page one and I laughed and cried and yes, sighed, through to the end. The author struck a good balance between Rochester’s earthy, lusty nature that is blackened by his experiences until he encounters an innocent woman full of light.
Because of the way this is written as a companion story, it is best that the reader be familiar with Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre either through the book or one of the movie adaptions.
The story opens with Edward Rochester returning home to Thornfield Hall because of complications with his mad wife whom he has hidden in a secret attic room. His gloomy home is not as he left it. His ward’s new governess captures his attention from the beginning. Miss Eyre is ethereal and then he sees that she is innocent and pure having never been out into the world or experienced much of life. Or so he thinks until he learns that here, too, is one who suffered at the hands of her nearest relations and then a hard life in a school. Her intelligence, inner serenity, and strong convictions call to him. He knows he shouldn’t have her and should leave her be, but his heart burns for her.
Rochester has a scare when his crazed wife gets out and almost kills him. She could have harmed Jane Eyre. He determines to go away for everyone’s safety, but he doesn’t get far and learns that he cannot part from Jane Eyre. An elaborate scheme is made utilizing the upper class who return with him for a house party. He must make Jane need him as he needs her. He will defy the law and everyone to have her if only he can break past her strong will for what she considers right.
I was amazed as I read this story. The author wrote a character that I had no trouble believing was the Rochester of Bronte’s tale. He is unapologetically himself- flaws, black moods, desires, and all. But shining through is that amazing love that tied this pair of doomed lovers together.
The author wrote the scenes away from Jane Eyre so that I was as riveted by the other events as the actual love affair. The original characters like Edward’s lifetime friend, Carter, his land agent with his own secrets, and the expansion of the minor characters like all in his household and neighborhood was a huge draw. The history she gave Edward with the Mason family of Jamaica was hellish and rang true even if Bronte never wrote such depravity that those insane people committed. And the hatred that Edward’s own family felt for him was intense. My only niggle in this story was that I thought there was a hint as to the why Edward was hated by father and older brother, but it was never clearly stated so I can still only surmise.
In summary, this was impressive and I would highly recommend it to all who love the story of Jane Eyre and want to read it from Rochester’s perspective. It is slightly spicy and darker than the original.
My thanks to Book Review Buzz for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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