My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Mimi Mathews latest John Eyre is an absolutely fascinating and absorbing read. Combining two famous classical works into an evocative tale of menace and evil with an additional feature of woman empowerment was enough to send me to raptures.
The title of course gives away the 1st classic. A Jane Eyre retelling with changes in the gender of the main characters, John Eyre brings forth that same brooding atmosphere in the original that made it one of the most renowned published works for gothic romance. Thornfield Hall has never felt more frightening, the author’s mastery with words providing a dark and bleak environment with the ever-present mists surrounding the village adding a layer of an enigma.
The story which progresses thru John, who is appointed as a tutor to the wards of Mrs. Rochester is at times mellowed and subtle. We are so conditioned to reading about guys so superior that John’s character always at a subservient position made it tough for me to connect with him. He is by no means a weak character, but Bertha Rochester somehow towers over him in her forceful personality and her mere intimidating presence. I loved how Ms. Mathews has used Bertha’s letters and journals to show the change of her character from a naïve rosy-hued debutante ready to conquer the world to slowly seeing the depravity hidden behind masks and without any qualms rising above her fear and growing in strength to do what is necessary for her survival. When we encounter Bertha thru John’s eyes, she has become so hard and cynical that we lose sight of the vulnerability and loneliness that is hidden behind her brusque manner.
It is not just Thornfield Hall but Mimi Mathews creates Nosht-Vulk in Senniskali village in Bulgaria as even more terrifying and Bertha’s experiences send a chill down the reader’s spine as she realizes the dreadful pit that she is trapped in! The secondary characters are all delightful especially the butler Mr. Fairfax and the children.
The author in her notes refers to the raging debate of recreating a classic but I have always loved reading them in however recreated versions they have been published, and both books in John Eyre are favorites of all those who love gothic romance and horror so this surely appealed to me.
5 alluring stars!
Many thanks to Net Galley, Perfectly Proper Press, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
From USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews comes a supernatural Victorian gothic retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s timeless classic.
Yorkshire, 1843. When disgraced former schoolmaster John Eyre arrives at Thornfield Hall to take up a position as tutor to two peculiar young boys, he enters a world unlike any he’s ever known. Darkness abounds, punctuated by odd bumps in the night, strange creatures on the moor, and a sinister silver mist that never seems to dissipate. And at the center of it all, John’s new employer—a widow as alluring as she is mysterious.
Sixteen months earlier, heiress Bertha Mason embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Marriage wasn’t on her itinerary, but on meeting the enigmatic Edward Rochester, she’s powerless to resist his preternatural charm. In letters and journal entries, she records the story of their rapidly-disintegrating life together, and of her gradual realization that Mr. Rochester isn’t quite the man he appears to be. In fact, he may not be a man at all.
From a cliff-top fortress on the Black Sea coast to an isolated estate in rural England, John and Bertha contend with secrets, danger, and the eternal struggle between light and darkness. Can they help each other vanquish the demons of the past? Or are some evils simply too powerful to conquer?
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