Image of Mr. Rochester


Image of Mr. Rochester

Shoemaker’s ambitious reimagining of one of the greatest love stories is told through the eyes of Edward Rochester — a man who has a profound influence on how readers view the genre’s heroes. Readers may think of him as both charismatic and enigmatic. With her straightforward style, Shoemaker turns him into a man of vulnerability, determination and honor. There is a Dickensian quality to the story as readers follow Edward from an unfeeling childhood to a complicated marriage and finally to meeting Jane Eyre. The wonderfully executed details of Victorian life in England and Jamaica add to the atmosphere and lure the reader deeper into the tale. There are those who will be disappointed that Jane appears only near the end of the novel, but many will be fascinated with Edward’s side of the story.

Edward Rochester is born into wealth and privilege, yet following his mother’s death, he is left with an indifferent father and heartless brother. He is sent away from his beloved Thornfield, and at 13 he works at Mr. John Wilson’s mill before being sent to Jamaica, where he meets the beautiful but mentally unbalanced Berta. His eventual return to England and Thornfield bring their own challenges. His life is a living hell — until the headstrong, determined Jane arrives. (GRAND CENTRAL, May, 464 pp., $27.00)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin