Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre may have been published 175 years ago, but its themes of female rebellion and self-discovery are compelling today as they were in the Brontë’s time. Is it any wonder, then, that this classic gothic tale has been retold dozens of times since it was first published?
If you’re a fan of Jane and Mr. Rochester, take a look at how some modern authors have spun the story by changing the time period, the setting, or the point of view.
Jane Steele : A Confession by Lyndsay Faye. Suffering at the hands of cruel family members and brutal school administrators, sensitive orphan Jane Steele murderously retaliates against her abusers and takes a job as a governess working with mysterious servants while falling in love with her employer.
Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker. On his eighth birthday, Edward Rochester is banished from his beloved Thornfield Hall to learn his place in life. His journey eventually takes him to Jamaica where, as a young man, he makes a choice that will haunt him. It is only when he finally returns home and encounters one stubborn, plain, young governess, that Edward can see any chance of redemption – and love.
My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. An adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Bronte, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are drawn together on an epic ghost hunt.
The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea. A story in the tradition of Jane Eyre and Rebecca, a young woman follows her new husband to his remote home on the Icelandic coast in the 1680s, where she faces dark secrets surrounding the death of his first wife amidst a foreboding landscape and the superstitions of the local villagers.
Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne. Two hundred years after a supervolcano causes an ice age on Earth, making the planet uninhabitable, seventeen-year-old mechanic Stella Ainsley accepts a position as governess on the Rochester, a private space ship orbiting the moon, falls in love with the ship’s reclusive captain, befriends the secretive crew, and uncovers a plot that threatens the most vulnerable populations of the fleet.
The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell. The last surviving descendant of the Brontë family searches for her ancestor’s long-rumored secret estate with the help of a handsome Oxford professor using clues left behind by her late, eccentric father and the Brontë’s novels.
Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna , illustrated by Ramón K. Pérez. In this modern day reimagining of Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, Jane learns that in the world of New York’s elite, secrets are the greatest extravagance and she must decide if she should trust the man she loves or do whatever it takes to protect her best friend from the consequences of his deception.
Re Jane by Patricia Park. Jane Re, a half-Korean, half-American orphan, escapes to Seoul where she reconnects with her family while struggling to learn the ways of modern-day Korea, and wonders if the man she loves is really the man for her as she tries to find balance between two cultures and accept who she really is.
The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey. Overcoming a life of hardship and loneliness in 1960’s Scotland, a brilliant and determined young woman accepts a position as an au pair on the remote Orkney Islands where she faces her biggest challenge yet.
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins. Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. Her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester, recently widowed and Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident.
3 thoughts on “Jane Eyre Reimagined”
Thanks for this list! I just recently read Rebecca for the first time and didn’t make the connection. I’m adding The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The Glass Woman to my to-read list.
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I suppose it might not be appropriate for teens, but don’t forget “Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys.
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