Edit May 16, 2018: For updated and added reviews and content, visit my new website Lit Lovers & Corset Laces.
Unlike other book reviews that I've done in the past, I don't really need to give a synopsis of Jane Eyre's Husband. Most visitors of this blog have read Jane Eyre before, so the only real synopsis you need is that it's a retelling of that story told mostly from Rochester's point of view. I say "mostly" because it does shift to different characters' perspectives, but the plot stays focused on Rochester just as it should be.
Key things I loved:
The different shifts in perspective work to the book's advantage because the reader gets the benefit of becoming more acquainted with other characters from Jane Eyre. For example, I was extremely happy to see Dr. Carter find his way to the forefront of the book during the time period in which Rochester is struggling for life after being injured in the fire.
The book is divided into three parts. The first is Rochester’s life before Jane which gives the full explanation of his marriage to Bertha as well as his mistresses. The second is about his time with Jane that goes hand in hand with Jane Eyre. The third part dwells on the time after their marriage. The division was actually kind of necessary, because without these separate parts the book might have been too overwhelming due to its rather large length. Still, I liked the division because I felt like it gave me the full extent of Rochester’s progression through life.
Tara Bradley mastered the art of preserving the sanctity of the source material while also bringing in a modern edge to the story. I read another Jane Eyre spin-off called Rochester and it dwelled SO much on the sexual aspect of Jane and Rochester’s relationship that it strayed significantly off the path of the source material and ruined it for me. Tara Bradley sticks faithfully to Jane Eyre in all the parts that the original novel has already laid out for us. However, she takes appropriate liberties in parts one and three so that the reader’s imagination is still awakened.
I never got bored. Not once. At all. Almost every book I’ve ever read has at least a tiny dry area where you might be a little tempted to fast forward a few pages. This is the first book where I made it a POINT to read every.single.word. Some areas even I read more than twice because they were so gripping!
Overall, “gripping” is the exact word to use when describing Tara Bradley’s masterpiece. Somehow this author has an amazing gift of translating emotions from a page into the reader’s very heart. I FELT myself witnessing Rochester’s journey as if I was there for myself. I experienced full force the same emotions that he was experiencing, ESPECIALLY in Rochester’s moments of despair. To me, any author can write about love and romance, but it takes true talent to be able to convey the full extent of a breaking heart to a reader. Bradley’s genius exhibits itself to the fullest in Rochester’s angst, not just in his moments of pleasure. That’s what makes Jane Eyre’s Husband the masterpiece that it is. To me, the whole point of Rochester’s personal story is that he’s burdened by misery for most of it until he meets Jane. The reader can’t be touched by the relationship he finds with Jane until they fully understand the hopelessness of his situation without her. Bradley understands this and executes accordingly. I cried countless times while reading this novel. The great thing is that they were tears of joy AND sadness, and not just one or the other.
To all Jane Eyre fans:
I know in just another post I abused eBooks and basically called them the root of all evil, but I’m telling you now that you HAVE to purchase this book. I downloaded the kindle software to my PC and you should too, just for the pleasure of reading Jane Eyre’s Husband.
To Tara Bradley if you’re reading this:
You are an artist! I hope to read more from you. I’m brutally honest and highly critical when it comes to anything having to do with Jane Eyre. It takes a lot to please me, and you absolutely blew me away with your writing.