‘Mr. Rochester’ by Sarah Shoemaker

mr ssSTORY: We first meet Edward Rochester as a vulnerable, motherless little boy who, on his eighth birthday, is exiled from Thornfield Hall and all he has ever loved. As he learns to navigate his complicated relationships with his father and older brother, he makes his journey across England and then to Jamaica and a world of slavery and a ravishing but difficult wife—and a heartbreaking betrayal.

Eventually he returns to England with his increasingly unstable wife, Bertha, to take over as master of Thornfield, and it is there on a twilight ride that he meets the plain, young governess who will steal his heart.

We know part of the story from Jane Eyre, but in Mr. Rochester we learn how he became the man Jane learns to love, and what he was willing to give up for her.

REVIEW: I should start this review with saying that I’m not a fan of Fan-Fiction. I actually refuse to read them. I always felt that they are unnecessary and would ruin my opinion of the original work written. Boy, was I wrong! Ms. Shoemaker’s Mr. Rochester has forever changed my mind about Fan-Fiction.

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I read Jane Eyre a long time ago and I’ve seen almost every version filmed of the classic tale. My favorite of them all is PBS special of it in 2007 with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens in the title roles. Watching that four hour special, for the first time ever I paid more attention to Mr. Rochester and from that point on I always wondered who he really was and what made him tick. No matter how well the original was written or how deeply the movies went into the character of Mr. Rochester, none went deep enough to explain this complex and intriguing man. Until now. Until this book.

I reveled in this retelling of Jane Eyre from Mr. Rochester’s point of view. I was glad Ms. Shoemaker has given Edward a backstory, and by dividing it into three books, it gave me time to appreciate the complexity of the character.

I would be remiss in not singing praises of Simon Shepherd for an amazing narration. It really brought Mr. Rochester to life.

If you’ve ever had doubts about Fan-Fiction, I’d like to ask you to take a chance and read this story. I think it’ll change your mind as it did mine. I’d also like to recommend this story to all of you that are into complex, brooding and intriguing heroes. Mr. Rochester is a fascinating read and I’m so glad Ms. Shoemaker has saw fit to write Mr. Rochester’s story.

Melanie for b2b