By Sophia Whitfield
200 years after the birth of Charlotte Bronte, Tracy Chevalier has edited a book that brings together the best literary talent to write stories inspired by Bronte’s most famous of literary lines, Reader, I married him.
The anthology of twenty-one stories reflects Jane Eyre’s final words on her tumultuous love story. Women writers included in this tome are celebrated contemporary authors including Lionel Shriver, Susan Hill, Evie Wyld, Emma Donoghue and many more. Each story is a different reimagining of the celebrated novel. The stories highlight how many ways there are to tell a single story.
Many of the stories address marriage, the beginning, the end and the many forms it can take. Religion, class and sexual preference are all reflected in the eclectic cast of characters. Love is the central theme in all the stories.
Helen Dunmore writes from Grace Poole’s point of view, the woman charged with caring for Mr Rochester’s mad wife Bertha. Sally Vickers writes from Mr Rochester’s point of view and Audrey Niffenegger places Jane in a war-torn country. Imagery such as pit bull terriers and mirrors are used to interpret Jane Eyre for a new audience. If you know the story well you will recognise Jane in each story.
Edited by Tracy Chevalier, Reader, I Married Him celebrates the strength and lasting relevance of Charlotte Bronte's classic novel and its beloved heroine.
This book is just one of the many celebrations to commemorate the birth of Charlotte Bronte. Dame Judi Dench has been named the new honorary president of the Bronte Society as it marks the bicentenary of Charlotte Bronte’s birth.
The society is to mark the anniversary with events at the Bronte Parsonage Museum, as well as a service at Westminster Abbey in London.
If you are a fan of Jane Eyre, then this collection of stories is a must read. Buy the book here.
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