Retelling of Brontë classic from Rochester’s perspective comes up short

Repeating Islands

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A review by Julienne Isaacs for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Wikipedia has an entire article devoted to “Adaptations of Jane Eyre,” another reminder that Charlotte Brontë’s classic still has a tight hold on the popular imagination. Any new riffs on the theme need to be unique to pass muster with publishing gatekeepers and Eyre lovers alike.

It’s perplexing that Michigan author Sarah Shoemaker’s novel made it past these checks. Mr. Rochester takes the perspective of its eponymous hero instead of one of the novel’s many female characters and was written, according to its editor, because “Sarah was eager to read Brontë’s story from Rochester’s point of view — but… no such novel existed.”

There is, in fact, at least one other Jane Eyre retelling devoted to Rochester’s perspective. But, more pertinently, if a new novel is to be devoted to Rochester’s (privileged, white, male) viewpoint, shouldn’t it productively…

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