‘The Wide Sargasso Sea’ by Jean Rhys
A classic novel to add to the collection this month. ‘The Wide Sargasso Sea’ is the prequel to ‘Jane Eyre’. As I absolutely adore the story of ‘Jane Eyre’ I was interested to read any work associated with it. This prequel focuses on Mr Rochester’s first wife, the women we find locked in the attic in ‘Jane Eyre’. The story meets Antoinette Cosway before she becomes crazed and sees her sold into a marriage to Mr. Rochester. Paranoid that she will go mad like her mother and largely shaped by those around her, the short novel sees her slowly slip into madness. It further sees the development of Mr. Rochester’s withdrawn and secretive character as he takes control moving his wife away. Whilst, I feel the story is good in adding detail to the women we know so little about and setting context to Mr. Rochester’s character, I feel the story moves very quickly. Which, I felt left a lot of unanswered questions more so than it answered. However, I do not regret reading it as it does give valuable background but I would definitely suggest reading this after ‘Jane Eyre’ rather than before.
‘On the Other Side’ by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Now I must admit that when I started reading this book I had mixed feelings about it. The book has an element of the supernatural to it, as in the main character Evie is in limbo and has to settle some unfinished business before she can pass over. This aspect is not usually something I like when I choose a book to read however, I persevered with it and I’m glad I did. In solving Evie’s unfinished business, Fletcher tells us the endearing secret forbidden love story of Vincent and Evie. She takes the reader on a journey exploring love and heartbreak through a love story that never got the chance to thrive running in parallel with the happy life that Evie was able to lead. I recommend you give this book a try if you’re a hopeless romantic or a fan of Carrie Hope Fletcher herself. For a first fiction novel, I was impressed and I look forward to hearing more from Fletcher in the future.
‘The Girl You Left Behind’ by Jojo Moyes
As a big fan of Jojo Moyes following ‘Me Before You’, ‘Me After You’ and ‘The Last Letter From Your Lover’, I am always keen to read more of what she has to offer. I was enthralled once again, this time by her ability to capture two love stories in a painting called ‘The Girl You Left Behind’. The story has two components 1940s war-stricken France and modern day. Moyes captures life in France during the war perfectly exploring in detail the emotions of people living in a small village and the Germans forced to control them. She captures the creation of the painting by Edouard Lefevre of his wife Sophie Lefevre and Sophie’s struggle to use it to end their wartime separation. Then in modern day we see where the painting has ended up, with Olivia a widow whose attempts to love again see her joined with the very man who has come looking to return the painting to it’s rightful owners. I would urge you to read this novel to see how a painting captures, separate and reunites love in so many ways.