02 May 2017

Today's Read: Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker

Mr. Rochester by Sarah ShoemakerDo you ever wonder about how the secondary characters in a novel see events unfolding? I do. What was Edward Fairfax Rochester thinking when he proposed to Jane Eyre, knowing all too well that there was a madwoman in his attic?

I know little of my birth, for my mother died long before she could tell me--before I ever heard her voice or gazed at her face--and my father banished the woman who helped deliver me, blaming her for my mother's death. Of course, my father himself had no interest in telling me the least part of it, even if he did remember, which he almost certainly did not. There was no room for sentiment in my father's existence. Although my mother had proved her worth by providing him with two healthy boys, he would still have considered it a waste to lose a good broodmare.
Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker (Grand Central Publishing, 2017, p. 3)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Early 1800s, England
  • Circumstances: A retelling of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre through Mr. Rochester's eyes. From what I can tell so far, the novel is set up in a similar fashion to the classic: we learn of Rochester's childhood and coming of age, his travels, the story of his first marriage, and how he became guardian for Adele, which ultimately leads him to hire Jane Eyre. From there, this novel and the original mostly overlap.
  • Why I want to read the novel: As I mentioned, I enjoy retellings from new perspectives (see, for example, my review of Longbourn, a Pride & Prejudice retelling). I also enjoyed Jean Rhys's Wide Saragossa Sea, which enlarges the story of Bertha, the Jamaican woman Rochester married in his youth. I've read other retellings of Jane Eyre and novels inspired by Jane Eyre (see Jane Steele) including one set in more modern times, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, and liked them all.
  • Reviews: I've read mixed reviews, but none of the negative thoughts has turned me off from reading this novel for myself.
  • More information: Visit author Sarah Shoemaker's website and watch the following video in which she talks about why she wrote Mr. Rochester.

21 comments:

sjhigbee 5/2/17, 7:08 AM  

Ooo... this one looks interesting! Hope you enjoy reading it, Beth. My TT this week is a magical adventure - https://sjhigbee.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/teaser-tuesday-2nd-may-2017/

(Diane) bookchickdi 5/2/17, 7:54 AM  

I too love read retelling of classic novels from the perspective of other characters. Thanks for highlighting this one, it's new to me.

Kathy Martin 5/2/17, 8:17 AM  

I hope you enjoy this one. I, too, like to know more about the other characters in books I enjoy. This week I'm reading The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick - a new book by a favorite author. Happy reading!

Laura Fabiani 5/2/17, 8:23 AM  

I'm picky about retellings, some I like and some not so much. I guess it depends on the story itself. This one sounds interesting. I've always thought Mr. Rochester to be an enigmatic character.

Kym Thorpe 5/2/17, 8:53 AM  

Oh, this looks intriguing! I often enjoy a retelling from a different character's point of view, so this might need to go on my TBR list.

rhapsodyinbooks 5/2/17, 10:17 AM  

I loved Longbourn, so I think I would enjoy this one too.

Margot 5/2/17, 10:35 AM  

That first paragraph feels quite emotional. I think I'd like meeting Mr. Rochester as a boy.

Tina 5/2/17, 10:57 AM  

What an interesting take on a book. I would enjoy that very much.

Monica's Bookish Life 5/2/17, 11:06 AM  

The idea of learning more about Mr. Rochester is intriguing. I like the opening, so I'd keep reading!

Laurel-Rain Snow 5/2/17, 11:06 AM  

That father was a piece of work...(broodmare?). But I guess his view was not that unusual back then.

I am curious, so I want to know more. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “VIVIAN IN RED”

Laura Agnella 5/2/17, 11:47 AM  

I would definitely keep reading! I just read Jane Steele, which is an interesting twist on Jane Eyre. I loved it so I may pick this up just to keep with the theme. lol. Thanks for sharing!
Laura :)
My FPFC Tuesday

Sandra Nachlinger 5/2/17, 12:29 PM  

What a great premise! I'm definitely curious about Mr. Rochester's back story.
My Tuesday post features Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die.

Yvonne 5/2/17, 1:15 PM  

This looks really interesting.

Cleo Bannister 5/2/17, 3:46 PM  

Yes!! I love the sound of this book.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 5/2/17, 7:16 PM  

I'm not a fan of these spinoffs or retellings of classics - hope it's a hit though.

Tasha B. 5/2/17, 11:47 PM  

Just what we need, another proto-feminist classic retold from a male perspective

Amanda 5/3/17, 8:34 AM  

I'm wary about this one, but also intrigued. Thankfully I'm fairly low on the library hold list!

Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf 5/3/17, 10:44 AM  

This sounds really interesting! I don't do a ton of retellings but your tempting me with the alternate view.

Vicki 5/3/17, 11:46 AM  

Since I haven't read Jane Eyre, I'd want to read it first and then read this book.

Literary Feline 5/3/17, 1:14 PM  

Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite novels. I hesitate to read this one because I don't want to be disappointed and yet, another part of me really wants to jump right in and give it a try. It means more Jane Eyre! I hadn't heard of this book before, so thank you for bringing it to my attention.

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