Straightforward, chronological, first-person narrative, beginning with Rochester's lonely childhood. Fan fiction that demystifies Rochester--but is that a good thing?
Very enjoyable to read about Rochester's background; his isolated upbringing and manipulating father, as landowner in Jamaica, and the torturous years married to a mad woman. My heart ached for him to watch as his experiences molded him into the mistrustful and cynical adult, and finally his absolute longing for a possible future with the unassuming Ms. Eyre. Edward came to life within these pages, breathing a wonderful freshness into a classic tale. 4 stars.
The "Jane Eyre" fangirl in me devoured this novel, especially the audio version, because the character of Rochester is enigmatic, complex and often misunderstood (or hard to understand!).
Being a Bronte fan, I was very intrigued by this book. I was a bit wary at the beginning, because prequels and sequels to Bronte novels are often rather bad; however, in this case, I was not disappointed. The novel gives a comprehensive and plausible story of Rochester's life before he meets Jane Eyre and ends shortly after Thornfield's fire. Young Edward loses his mother very early in his life and leaves his ancestral home when he is only 8 years old. After spending some time in a private school with few other students, two of whom become his closest friends, he is then sent to work at a mill in order to learn how to conduct business. Although very rarely physically present, Edward's father, the older Rochester, is the power behind the scene for most of the story. He decides that Rowland, the elder brother, will inherit most of the property but he still wants Edward to be comfortable. So he takes care of his younger son's education - but not inclinations or feelings - and in the end, although he provides him with a good position, he doesn't hesitate to sacrifice him in order to save Rowland. If you have read "Jane Eyre," you know that going to Jamaica will change Edward's life forever; if you haven't, I will not spoil your surprise. Overall, I enjoyed reading "Mr. Rochester" : the story is well-researched, the characters more or less plausible, we cannot help feeling compassion for Edward and the sad predicament where his father's narrow mindedness puts him. I was curious about the part where he talks about meeting Jane and deciding to marry her, and perhaps that was not too impressive. The story of the earlier years was for me better written and more interesting, while the later part is more or less predictable once you know Charlotte Bronte's novel. I found this book good and I definitely recommend it.
Too many modern authors have used classics like the Austen books and Jane Eyre as springboards for their own fiction- to ill effect. Ms. Shoemaker in "Mr. Rochester" has done it very well. This was a book not to put down. I am sure I must have read Jane Eyre annually since first reading it in grade 7, so I am a big fan. It was really enjoyable having Jane only appear in the second part of the book and as a secondary character while Mr. Rochester's own story is fleshed out. We may have felt some compassion for him while reading Jane Eyre, but in this book, he is thoroughly likable.
My only disappointment, this seems to be the author's only published work.
samrouthier thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over
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