|(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this 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.
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