Retelling Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre has inspired writers, as well as readers, over the years. There are many retellings of the Jane Eyre story. If you are looking for a different perspective, a Jane Eyre with a twist, try out one of these.

wide sargasso sea

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, 1966, 155 p.

This re-telling is a prequel to Jane Eyre, told from the perspective of Rochester’s wife, Bertha, a Creole heiress in colonial Jamaica. Wide Sargasso Sea is a feminist interpretation of Jane Eyre, about a woman’s struggle to find her identity and freedom. It matches the original with its atmospheric and character-driven text. It is a psychological portrait, both descriptive and stylistically complex.

jenna starborn

Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn, 2002, 381 p.

This is a science fiction version of Jane Eyre. Jenna is an unwanted and unloved as a child, created out of frozen embryonic tissue. When she travels to the planet Fieldstarr, to work at Thorrastone she encounters her employer, a reclusive aristocrat with a dark secret. Sound familiar? Jenna is a strong willed, engaging, and likeable character, while the story is both romantic and suspenseful, blending drama and gothic romance in a futuristic world.

eyre affair

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, 2001, 384 p.

The Eyre Affair blends mystery and science-fiction in an alternate world where literature is a big deal in everyday life.  Thursday Next, literary detective, is after the world’s most wanted criminal who is intent on kidnapping beloved literary characters from the text, including Jane Eyre, threatening to change the course of the novel forever. This is a fast-paced, plot-driven, and intricate romp that will appeal to literature lovers, combining drama and humour. The Eyre Affair is the first in the Thursday Next series.

death of a schoolgirl

Death of a Schoolgirl: The Jane Eyre Chronicles by Joanna Campbell Slan, 2012, 239 p.

Jane as a detective? This cozy mystery picks up after Jane and Rochester’s marriage, when a letter from Adele, away at boarding school, convinces Jane that she better go and assure herself that all is well. This historical mystery has mixed reviews, but it offers readers another chance to expand their acquaintance with Jane and is written by a Jane Eyre fan with respect for the character and in the first person. See what you think. Next in the series is Death of a Dowager.

jane, the fox and me

Jane, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt; illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, 2012, 101 p.

Originally published in French as Jane, le renard et moi, this French-Canadian graphic novel tells the story of Helene, a bullied school who finds inspiration in Jane Eyre, a “clever, slender, and wise” person who is loved despite her lack of traditional beauty. Helene gradually that she too deserves love and friendship after an encounter with a fox and a boisterous new classmate. A serious and thoughtful story, told through expressive yet spare illustrations, Jane, the Fox, and Me is a sensitive children’s story which adults, young and old, will enjoy.

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