More on the Moors

Jane Eyre Jane Steele Juliet Barker Mr. Rochester Sarah Shoemaker The Brontes UK

After picking up Jane Steele (an amusing and devious romp through Bronte territory), I decided to put on a more scholarly hat and dive into a biography of the ladies and gents of that mysterious family. We leave for our summer vacation in the UK on Monday and will be staying at a home near the Bronte parsonage at Haworth. (Pictures will certainly be forthcoming! I cannot wait!)

I next chose The Brontes by Juliet Barker, a book recently published in a second and updated edition. NPR's review of the book states, "living together in the isolated parsonage at Haworth, the Brontes were characterized as a 19th-century version of The Addams Family." Just the kind of shadowy and funereal description to pull me right in.

I'm only a few chapters into this 1,184-page tome and think this will take longer than my usual read.  he footnotes alone are 136 pages, and the NPR review calls them "thrilling." Hmm. I'll be the judge of that.

I also recently finished Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker, a retelling of Jane Eyre from Edward Fairfax's point of view. An imaginative look at how things might have gone in Edward's life, it ended all too quickly and without enough Jane.

I hope the Brontes are on the verge of having their 'moment.' Their tipping-point. What the BBC 'Pride and Prejudice' did for Jane Austen, I hope happens for these sisters. The new PBS Masterpiece mini-series 'To Walk Invisible' was...okay. And a variety of Jane Eyre films exist that are...okay. (Though I did like the most recent with Michael Fassbender. Sigh.) But let's be honest, the Wuthering Heights film with Ralph Fiennes was just plain weird. (Am I alone in this?)  

These bleak and gloomy ladies deserve so much more. The stories are lush and passionate and a little bit fiendish. Nothing I have seen so far does them justice. I guess I will just have to start reading them all again to get my fix. Though who would star in an Andrew Davies mini-series of Wuthering Heights? That is definitely entertaining to think on.

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