I typically don’t enjoy retellings of classic stories unless they have some remarkable twist to them. (For example, I yawned quite a bit through Death Comes to Pemberley.) This novel, a retelling of Jane Eyre from Mr. Rochester’s perspective, surprised me by how well it captured my interest.
The story follows a similar path to the original, telling of Edward Rochester’s boyhood and education. The prose was beautiful, and I felt completely transported into Edward’s world of a distant father, a dismissive elder brother, and a longing for the mother he never knew. His education, both in the liberal arts at his tutor’s home and in manufacturing at a cloth mill, was fascinating and contained many foreshadowings of later pieces of the story. The secondary characters were portrayed masterfully, and I was reminded of Dickens’ supporting casts (albeit, without the humor). When Edward finally took his long-awaited trip to Jamaica, I cringed with anticipation, wondering just how he would be entrapped into marrying the insane Bertha Mason…and then, oh, the horror of the predicament he finds himself in!
If I have any critique of the book, it would be that the last third which retells his relationship with Jane was a little tedious. But at the same time, I enjoyed the surprising twist at the end and the added character which brought a fascinating moral dilemma into a story already filled with moral dilemmas. Even for those who are not fans of Jane Eyre, this is an excellent novel–recommended!
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.