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Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Mr. Rochester" by Sarah Shoemaker



Of English literature’s romantic heroes, it's hard to find one more disconsolate than Edward Fairfax Rochester. In Sarah Shoemaker’s re-imagining of Mr. Rochester, we can better see why. Edward’s mother dies giving birth to him, his older brother is a menacing tyrant, his father a manipulating merchant with little feeling for his second son. Edward’s ties to home are severed at an early age, his closest friendships end in tragedy, his torturous marriage in Jamaica is the result of a business scheme concocted by his father when Edward was but a boy.

And we thought Jane Eyre had a grim youth.

How bitterness takes root and drives a good man to grievous wrongs is meticulously unravelled in Mr. Rochester. In this comes a soul-searching empathy for the depths of Edward’s feelings for Jane (herself hardly a ray of sunshine amongst literature’s most enduring heroines). 

There are two sides to every couple’s story . At long last, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre has a worthy companion revealed in Sarah Shoemaker’s Mr. Rochester.

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