This is Jessi Wakefield and you are listening to Check It Out. Today I would like to recommend Sarah Shoemaker’s 2017 reimagining of Jane Eyre entitled Mr. Rochester.
Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books ever written. And in my mind, there is no greater character in fiction than that of Jane herself. So how could I resist picking up a book written from the viewpoint of Mr. Rochester? I thought it would make for a very interesting backstory to, although far from perfect, one of the most swoon worthy literary characters in all of his Byronic hero glory.
Rochester is such a complex man full of contradictions that make him sympathetic, incredibly frustrating, and far from perfect. Sarah Shoemaker introduces us to motherless, Edward, second son to a shipping tradesman, more comfortable with the servants at Thornfield Hall than with older brother or his father. Edward’s life is quite lonely. He is sent away from the family home to receive an education and lacks any knowledge of the life his father has carved out for him. Although Edward makes friends, his attachments are always short and his loneliness continues as he grows up. Thornfield Hall always lingers in his mind, but soon his older brother dashes his hopes that it will ever be Edward's true home. Although Edward does find some happiness working at a trade mill, it isn't long before his father sends him to the Rochester holdings in Jamaica. It is there that he meets Bertha Mason and where the tale becomes familiar to all Jane Eyre fans. But you do have to be patient, as Jane, herself, doesn't enter the story until 300 pages into the book. But once you reach the last third, you are treated with Rochester’s thoughts of Jane as well as experiencing classic dialog that makes Jane Eyre so memorable.
Come visit us at the Sioux City Public Library and get your copy of Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker, or grab the original Classic, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and read it again, or maybe for the first time.
Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.