Feb 012016
 

9781402212376Echoes of Thornfield

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Giveaway Win

What if, after twenty-something years of marriage, Jane and Edward Rochester decided to travel abroad to the West Indies for several years?

What if they had a sixteen year old daughter they decided to leave behind in England with a guardian and companion in a Yorkshire estate close to her home?

While I’ve read and enjoy several novels that share the romantic life of Charlotte Brontë (my favorite being The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë by Syrie James) and list her masterpiece, Jane Eyre, as one of my all-time favorite reads, this is my first time reading a sequel to Jane Eyre! Similar to many Jane Austen sequels, this story takes place many years later and revolves more around the offspring of the happily married couple than the couple themselves. I was happy to feel an immediate interest and sympathy for our heroine, Janet Rochester and loved her clear and open narrative voice.

In this sequel that spans close to four years, readers will see what becomes of Janet as she is sent to school and then later to live with her guardian, a widowed Colonel Dent, who lives seven miles from Thornfield in his own estate called Highcrest Manor. While Janet can find happiness and comfort at Highcrest, there are some things that cut up her peace a little bit. Like what are those sounds she hears at night? Why is the East Wing completely closed off? Why are the servants acting so secretive? Also, Colonel Dent’s secretary, Roderick Landless, bears a striking resemblance to Janet’s father…is there some familial connection there? Who are Roderick’s parents? What is his story?

As you can see, this is quite an engrossing and intriguing plot with a lot of echoes of Charlotte Brontë’s original novel. I greatly enjoyed all the mysteries and secrets and appreciated how the parallels weren’t too overt and obvious. This story felt very much its own and the well-defined and captivating characters helped create a new world for readers to explore. I found Janet extremely admirable – she was loyal, fierce, kind-hearted, and strong. I also enjoyed the enigmatic and dark characters of this tale, it was diverting to speculate about their secrets and try to puzzle out their histories.

Along with themes of independence, family, and unknown secrets – Jane Eyre’s Daughtertouches upon the theme of forbidden love. With Janet’s worshipful adoration of her father, her developing feelings for someone who may be related to her, and the depiction of a pair of siblings who seem to share a closer than familial bond, there are some undertones of taboo love. This may not be to the liking of some readers, but knowing the Brontës propensity to be radical, passionate, and dramatic, to me it felt well within the realm of what one would expect in Brontë-esque literature.

One aspect of this story that I think many readers won’t like or agree with is the author’s portrayal of Jane Rochester. She is portrayed as a strong and loving wife, but one who favors her son with attention and affection and not her daughter. Towards her daughter she is cold and stringent – no kind words, no embraces, no tenderness. Seeing how Jane behaved towards Adele Varens, this just doesn’t ring true. However, rather than be completely turned off by this author’s portrayal, I decided push aside my opposing view and buy in, as having a distant and unaffectionate mother seemed to serve the author’s purpose. Since we don’t see Jane Rochester much after the first couple of chapters, this was easy to do.

Jane Eyre’s Daughter is an engrossing read that I would definitely recommend to readers who enjoy gothic romances and mysteries. With its echoes of Jane Eyre, intriguing characters, and gothic tone this story is a lovely homage to Jane Eyre.

Note: Austenesque readers might like to know that Ms. Newark is also the author of a Pride and Prejudice sequel – The Darcys Give a Ball. I’m looking forward to checking it out!

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20 Comments on "Jane Eyre’s Daughter – Elizabeth Newark"

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Sheila L. M.
I have read Jane Eyre more than any other novel…yes, more than P&P. Having been assigned that book in 7th grade as summer reading I then re-read it an additional 8 times…long before I “discovered” P&P. I agree that Jane Rochester nee: Eyre would NEVER have neglected giving love to any child. Especially after how her aunt treated her. But there does seem to be a lot of mystery here…and blood relations? I find that latter part difficult to wrap my mind around. But we all know Mr. Rochester was no saint and he did take in one child whose… Read more »
Sheila L. M.

Meredith, you do such a good job with reviews. One knows exactly what one will have to look forward to after reading your comments. Thank you.

Christina Boyd
I read this a few years ago and I agree with your review especially about Jane’s preference for the son–which I thought didn’t really match with the character from the original. I think she would have doted on both children–making sure that both felt equally loved and respected. Overall a good read. Re: The Darcy’s Give a Ball. It was also a good read but thought the title a misnomer in that it’s not really about the Darcys rather the offspring of the Collins. The Mr. Darcy sightings are fleeting. I thought it should be renamed “The Collins Go to… Read more »
Paige B.

Another great review, Meredith! I haven’t read this, but love Jane Eyre and was interested in what your review of this book would be.

Carol

Great review. This another book that was on my 8th grade reading list. Read it again freshman year of high school. I reread the book every time a new screen version comes. I love to note inconsistencies from book to screen.

Robyn Brown

I loved Jane Eyre and always wanted the story to continue. This is exciting.

Sophia Rose

Jane Eyre is a favorite story and I find it surprising that I haven’t read a sequel. This one has perked up my interest. Nice review!

Carole in Canada

Thank you for this review as I have had this book on my ‘wishlist’ for sometime but it has never made it over to the ‘TBR’ list. ‘Jane Eyre’ is an all time favourite of mine long before ‘Pride & Prejudice’! I have read it countless times and haven’t really found a sequel that I really wanted to read. I think I will just have to set aside my concern, as you did, for the lack of love Jane feels for her daughter.

Reina

As others said, your reviews are so well-done and helpful. Thanks! I don’t know if I can get past a Jane who is cold to her daughter, but the rest of the book does sound intriguing.

Suzan

I love Jane eyre also. I have several sequels. I just can’t seem to get into them. Same with the sequels for north and south. Must be the complexities of the gothic & romance or historical & romance. I loved your review.

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