Author: M.C. Smith
Genre: Retelling, Historical fiction, Adult
Publication date: February 15th 2013
Pages: 306 (paperback)
Source: received from author
He is the unloved second son of an old and esteemed family. She is breathtaking and rich bun unknowingly carries the seeds of a devastating illness. Their fathers strike a convenient bargain which their children have little choice but to accept. Products of their time, Bertha Mason and Edward Rochester marry for financial security and respectability although they scarcely know one another.
At best, they will become comfortable companions who grow to love one another.
Jane Eyre is my favorite classic, maybe even my favorite in general. When the author approached me with the question if I wanted to read The First Mrs Rochester and Her Husband I didn’t have to think twice. Their story has always fascinated me because we know little to nothing about them.
In this book we got to know their history a little better. We got to know the exact reason why he married her in the first place and why he decided to leave her behind at Thornfield Hall of all places. But one of the most interesting things was that the story was told in both Berthas’ as Mr Rochester’s perspective. At first I didn’t really like Edward. He was quiet selfish, he rather married a complete stranger then work for his money. And after he dumped her at his home, because let’s face it that is exactly what he did, he went off to Europe and lived and eccentric like a bachelor. But he really made up for his past at the end of the book. He became a humble man who appreciated the people who stood beside him no matter what had happened. And I already knew that I would end up liking him. Most of all we finally got to know what was going on inside her head all this time and how she was feeling about the whole situation. I have always felt a little bad for her, she might not be mentally right but being locked away in a room cannot improve her condition.
I wouldn’t have minded if the author explored more the first weeks/months/years of their marriage. Because know she told their whole story in one, short, book. And I believe that their first years of marriage could have been really fascinating for us readers. I also missed that there was no real conversation between the characters, the author just told us what was happening and the only two characters who seemed to talk were Edward and Bertha.
Overall I really liked this story. If you are, like me, a fan of Jane Eyre than I would recommend reading this book since it gives a nice extra touch to the original story.