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.
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Why Mr. Rochester?
My book group was discussing Jane Eyre, and not surprisingly the talk drifted to Mr. Rochester, this strange and inconsistent man who is sometimes playful and other times angry, who seems to care for Jane but romances Miss Ingram, and who, it turns out, keeps his insane wife in an upstairs apartment.
Who is he, really, and why is Jane attracted to him? I thought I needed to know more about his background, so that I could understand how he became the man that Jane met on the roadside that cold January evening. So, as Toni Morrison said, "If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."
Acclaim for Mr. Rochester
"A richly rewarding read."
—Margaret George, New York Times best-selling author of
The Confessions of Young Nero
"Mr. Rochester is a page-turning delight."
—Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl
"Prepare to be swept off your feet...pure book club gold."
—Mary Sharratt, author of
The Dark Lady's Mask: A Novel of Shakespeare's Muse