Thursday, March 24, 2016

Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired By Jane Eyre, edited by Tracy Chevalier

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

This collection of original stories by today’s finest women writers takes inspiration from the famous line in Charlotte Brontë’s most beloved novel, Jane Eyre.

A fixture in the literary canon, Charlotte Brontë is revered by readers all over the world. Her books featuring unforgettable, strong heroines still resonate with millions today. And who could forget one of literatures’ best-known lines: “Reader, I married him” from her classic novel Jane Eyre?

Part of a remarkable family that produced three acclaimed female writers at a time in 19th-century Britain when few women wrote, and fewer were published, Brontë has become a great source of inspiration to writers, especially women, ever since. Now in Reader, I Married Him, twenty of today’s most celebrated women authors have spun original stories, using the opening line from Jane Eyre as a springboard for their own flights of imagination.

my thoughts:

To celebrate Charlotte Bronte turning 200 this year I was going to reread her beloved classic novel, Jane Eyre.  I even agreed to read it with another blogger.  I was excited.  I wanted to find out whether or not I would finally fall in love with Jane and Rochester.  You see, I hated them both the first time round - a lot!  So, I was pretty interested in rereading the book nearly twenty years later and seeing how I'd react to it now.  I dug out an old copy and settled right in.  At first, I found myself engaged with the story and little Jane Eyre.  I rallied around her and was thrilled at how strong and resilient she proved to be.  And then came Rochester - ugh!  What a complete ass!  I loathed him from the first page and soon after, I couldn't stand Jane.  I had to DNF the book.  I just couldn't bring myself to read any more.  It didn't matter that it was twenty years later, I still didn't like the book.  And yet, I'm still drawn to Bronte's writing. I loved Villette and Emma, so I am determined to read the rest of her novels (Shirley, The Professor).  Oh, and I'm definitely interested in reading books that are inspired by her writing - those are the ones that really fascinate me.  So,  when I was offered a chance to read Reader, I Married Him I immediately agreed to do so.  How could I not?  Twenty-one short stories by authors that I love (Tessa Hadley, Audrey Niffenegger, Linda Grant, Lionel Shriver) and all of them inspired by Bronte's famous words - "Reader, I married him."  How fun does that sound?  I just had to read this book and find out.

Edited by Tracy Chevalier (and including a story by her) Reader, I Married Him is an utter delight to read.  There are so many terrific stories within the bunch.  Some spin off stories from the novel Jane Eyre - providing Grace Poole's perspective on things and even Rochester's.  Other stories explore same-sex marriage. While others go off in completely different directions and have characters choosing stability over love - the horror!  Its quite a creative cornucopia of all things love, romance, and Jane Eyre.  I absolutely loved how each author used the line, "Reader, I married him" and took it to another level.  Their stories reflect just how much they love Bronte and Jane Eyre (even Susan Hill, who admits to never having read Jane Eyre).  I found the whole reading experience to be refreshing and inspiring.  I not only want to read more Bronte, but now I want to read more of these fabulous writers' books.  I absolutely loved Reader, I Married Him.

I would happily recommend this book to fans of Charlotte Bronte, fans of Jane Eyre, and fans of short stories - you will love this terrific collection!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tours schedule for: Reader, I Married Him
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


Lisa said...

How did I not know about this book?! It sounds terrific!

Nadia said...

Lisa, I know what you mean. If it hadn't been for TLC Book Tours, I would never have heard of it either. It really is a terrific book!

Tea said...

I need to continue reading "Agnes Grey." Thank you for the link.

Nadia said...

Tea Norman, I know what you mean. I want to read all of the Brontes' works, along with all of Austen's as well.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm so glad that you loved this book even though you didn't love Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books (along with Wuthering Heights) but I know that not everyone loves it.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Nadia said...

Heather, thanks! I loved being on this tour :)

bermudaonion said...

I skipped this one because I've never read Jane Eyre. It sounds like I made a mistake.

Nadia said...

Kathy, I think you would enjoy it even if you haven't read JE. Its just such fun read.

Beth said...

I almost purchased this at the bookstore yesterday! I'm trying to read more of the Brontës, in general, right now, so I think this would be a great companion piece. I've actually only read Charlotte's Jane Eyre, which I really loved, and am currently working on Emily's Wuthering Heights (for the first time). Talk about characters the reader is sure to loathe-- Heathcliff and Cathy are insufferable! I'm still enjoying it though--so dark and brooding. I'll have to find this at the library ASAP. Thanks for sharing!

Vintage Reading said...

I will look out for this. Not seen it in any bookstores yet. Interesting that you loved Villette and not Jane Eyre. It's the other way around for me!

Nadia said...

Beth, definitely read it then - you are going to enjoy it! I'm trying to read more of their works as well :) I loved Wuthering Heights - such a great story. Dark and brooding indeed!

Nicola, keep an eye - its such a worthwhile read. That is interesting. I'm not sure what it is about JE that I just don't like, but I'm thinking it could be my love for Wide Sargasso Sea. I just prefer Jean Rhys' take on Rochester and Bertha more than the original.