Wide Sargasso Sea by Jeanne Rhys

Sargasso Sea B.C.

I was quite excited to finally get my hands on this book. I had heard a lot of good rumblings and reviews about it. I am a huge Jane Eyre and was excited to read about the back story of Bertha and Rochester’s life in Jamaica. However, I don’t know if it was the writing style or how I was reading it but I was surprisingly unhappy with the book. I do think though that the way I read, in bits and snatches when I had a free minute, contributed to  way I didn’t like it. I think that I will need to read it again to actually enjoy and fully understand it.

The book is written with quite a lot of Jamaican dialect, just so any future readers are aware. It is not super difficult to understand but it takes a little bit to get the hang of understanding the phrases readily. The book starts out with Bertha as a girl growing up with her mother on a plantation. It goes through her life, her friends, and her views on the world around her. In particular, it is an interesting study on the lives of whites in an area abundant with newly freed slaves.  In comes a man her mother marries and there lives subtly change. When the family is attacked, the move and Bertha begins to attend boarding school. Then the book cuts to the wedding between Bertha and Rochester. Of course, like all the reviews stated, Rochester is not directly named but anyone who had read Jane Eyre knows that it is him. Interestingly, Bertha is not actually called Bertha until much later in the book. After the wedding, the book follows Rochester’s thoughts for quite a while. It goes through his struggle on his marriage and dealing with his new wife, his struggles with his family, and what he is hoping to accomplish. You don’t really get a feel for Bertha much in this section, but again it may have been the way I was reading the book. A little bit further into the book you have other people intervening and complicating the marriage with stories, lies, and hidden truths.  Eventually, you get to hear Bertha’s thoughts again and how she is dealing with the different developments and people around her. I didn’t think the writing really reflected her descent into madness very well, but I am going to read it again to see if I missed the slow changing of her thoughts.

For any other Jane Eyre fans, I would recommend the book. It did give a very interesting view of a Rochester that we did not get to see in Jane Eyre. I would recommend that you take your time when you read it and really pay attention to details and not wait long if you have to put it down before you pick it up again. It also provides and interesting view on how whites were treated in Jamaica after the freeing of the slaves. I was quite surprised by how much of a picture it painted of the time period, attitudes, beliefs, and fears that were present at the time.

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Jane Slayre by Charlotte Brontë and Sherri Browning Erwin

I read this book hoping it would be a funny adaptation of Jane Eyre. I love Jane Eyre. It is one of my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, book. Unfortunately, I was not impressed by the book. I really wanted to like it, but I didn’t. I liked the core of the story because it followed so closely with the original Jane Eyre, but that was all. I actually missed the normalcy of the original.

The story begins with Jane living with the Reeds, who are actually vampires. She lives the vampire lifestyle, staying awake at night and sleeping during the day, rebelling where she can and yearning for day light. One maid at the house is a zombie, having been provided to the house by the Mr. Bokorhurst, the head of Lowood school. As normal, she gets in a fight with John Reed and ends up being shipped to Lowood school. At the school, she noticed that several of the students are zombies. Between her and Ms. Temple, they are able to wipe out the zombies, ending Mr. Bokorhurst’s experiments to perfect the zombie servants he had been creating. She learns a great deal about fighting zombies and vampires from Ms. Temple. Following Jane Eyre, she gets placed at Thornfield Hall and takes care of young Adele. There is an occasional fight with vampires, but all seems quiet except for the strange sounds upstairs. When she goes to marry Mr. Rochester, he reveals his wife in the attic – a werewolf. She flees and ends up with Rivers family. She reveals her talent for slaying vampires accidentally after a walk in the woods one night and St. John Rivers helps her to establish a village school for teaching the townspeople to slay vampires. They are growing in numbers in the area and will attack the village shortly. While doing this, she pursues research on how to defeat werewolves. The vampire attack comes and they are able to save the village and eliminate the vampires. St. John tries to talk her in to continuing their fight against the vampires in India. She leaves to return to Mr. Rochester only to find him a werewolf. She finds a way to cure him and they live happily ever after.

The names of some ofhttps://wordpress.com/post/82317091/517/ the characters are a little different, but are essentially the same. My big issue about the book was the vampire/werewolf storyline felt forced a lot in most areas. It didn’t fold in as seamlessly as I think the author had hoped. I think it needed to be taken a little more away from the true storyline, artistic license allows for that. I think there was too much attempt to stick so closely with the book. It is a nice read if you are interested in it. I personally won’t read it a second time, but it was a neat idea.

My rating:

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The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) by Jasper Fforde

Let me start by saying this is a solid sci-fi novel and I am usually not a fan of sci-fi. That being said, I actually enjoyed the book. I picked it up because it kept showing up on my recommended reading list on multiple sites LOL. I found it used at a bookstore and thought, Why not?

The first half of the book is setup and it was hard for me to stay engaged. A lot of background, setting, and explanation of what the world is like, in addition to the set up for the story line. However, without it the rest of the book doesn’t make much sense. Once you got past the first part, it picked up from there and it was focused solely on the main story line.

The book is a little hard to describe, but the back cover/book description does a fairly decent job. It is set in an alternate 1980s England and follows the main character, Thursday Next. There are airships instead of planes, do-dos are pets, and everyone is OBSESSED with literature. There is a group of special operations divisions that carry out different tasks – SpecOps 5 is Search and Containment of criminals, SpecOps 12 is ChronoGuard that monitors time travel and the time line, SpecOps 17 is Werewolf and Vampire Disposal, and Thursday’s division of SpecOps 27 – Literatec that monitors stolen or forged literature and literary crime. There are a lot of others, but these ones you run into in the book. Her dad is a ChronoGuard fugitive who pops in and out of the story traveling through time. Her uncle is an inventor and her love interest is a writer.

The book opens with a Charles Dickens manuscript getting stolen by a man named Hades. There are issues during the recovery operation and Thursday transfers home to the smaller office in Swindon. Her uncle and one of his inventions is kidnapped. Shortly after, a character goes missing from the Dickens story. Before Thursday and her crew can get the manuscript back, Hades steals the Jane Eyre original manuscript and Jane gets pulled out of the book. This is about halfway into the book, and it really picks up at that point. I happen to love Jane Eyre and if you are familiar with the book, you notice some interesting changes throughout The Eyre Affair, but it all works out in the end.

Once I got past the background phase of the book, I really like it. I can see why people say you should read it at least once. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys sci-fi or interesting literature stories. I thought it was a lot of fun and a neat take on the world. Not sure if I will read more of the series because I mainly picked this one up because of my love for Jane Eyre but I’m glad I read it. You should check it out!

My rating:

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