A spirited and sensual young woman grows up on a plantation in Jamaica just after the British government has freed the slaves. Her father has died years before and she, her handicapped brother, and her mother must try to keep up appearances until her mother can find a new husband. A new marriage brings a few years of happiness, but sudden, unexpected violence drives the mother into a deep depression and ends up forcing the girl into an arranged marriage with an Englishman who wants her fortune. The Englishman is Rochester; the Mr. Rochester of 'Jane Eyre'. And the girl slowly becomes the 'mad woman in the attic' of Bronte's beloved classic.
Beautifully written, with an engaging heroine and an interesting story, this book suggests that the withdrawal of love and choice can lead to the destruction of a soul as surely as violence.
This is a prequel to _Jane Eyre_ by Charlotte Bronte. It imagines the life and character of Rochester's first wife, driven to madness. This book is very intense and sensual. I was not able to fully appreciate it until I read a reader's commentary on the book- which I would highly recommend.
Pay attention! The book is written in the first person singular, but there are two first persons: the heroine (the first Mrs. Rochester from Jane Eyre) and her husband. Sometimes you have to read an entire section before you know which of them is the narrator. Its interesting how lucidly the heroine relates her tale, even though we know, as this is a sort of prequel, that she is insane. In fact, the final part is narrated by her at the time that she is insane and confined in Thornfield Hall in Charlotte Brontes Jane Eyre. Quite a feat that! That it is largely set in the Caribbean is easy to identify, but the Introduction refines it as Jamaica and Dominica. After Part One, I kept getting them confused; maybe because I couldnt keet the narrator straight. But, hey, thats me! Anyway, for you Jane Eyre stalwarts, here is your opportunity to discover how the first Mrs. Rochester became deranged. And, you can hear it mostly in her own words.
I can't begin to explain how profoundly this book affected me when I read it. It has haunting scenes and lush beautiful language. I started reading this book shortly after finishing Jane Eyre and comparing the treatment of the character in the two books provided a space to ask some hard questions about race, status and ignored histories. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in colonialism, racial identity and prose that sticks with you. At times I found Wide Sargasso Sea to be incredibly disturbing but I could not put it down.
Was a little disappointed; the story was hard to follow at times. Not what I expected.
A modern classic, the retelling of "Jane Eyre" by the mad wife of Mr. Rochester.
Great to read with Jane Eyre. The story of Rochester's "mad" wife.
Linked to the Jane Eyre classic
The book was good, but i wanted more from it. It is interesting that she talks about the west indies..not alot of books too. Not many books touch on the subject of obeah too...
I enjoyed this novel very much as it gave the reader an in-depth view of the Caribbean culture in the late 1800's while telling us more about Bertha, the woman hidden in the attic from the classic novel, Jane Eyre. It is a very passionate story with a very tragic ending. The prose is beautiful and the themes are racism, sexism, colonialism and human nature. I recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in Charlotte Bronte and/or Caribbean literature.
prequel to Jane Eyre. Poor Mrs. Rochester....
Different cover art.
What was Mr. Rochester's first wife like before her marriage?