Even 150 years after Charlotte Brontë’s passing, her influence in literature continues to grow. In particular, the story of Jane Eyre and the orphan girl’s search for individuality has inspired various fictional adaptations totally worthy of your time. From spin-offs to modern retellings, all 7 of the books below draw inspiration from Charlotte Brontë’s timeless classic.
1. Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramon Perez
Via Ramon Perez/Boom! Studios
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Aline Brosh McKenna is working with artist Ramon Perez to create a modern graphic novel adaptation of ‘Jane Eyre’. Set in the dazzling New York City, this retelling is simply named Jane. Our heroine embarks on her personal search for a sense of identity in a new world as an art student. When she finds herself in love with someone with a dark secret, she must do what is morally justified in order to remain true to herself. Published by Boom!’s Archaia imprint, Jane will be released September 13th in comic book stores, and September 19th in bookstores. For pre-orders, click here.
2. The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell
Via Simon & Schuster
In Catherine Lowell’s debut novel, Samantha Whipple is the last surviving descendant of the Brontë family. Her father, who passed away when she was 15, was always obsessed with his ancestors and their legacy. Now Samantha is at Oxford and hoping that studying about the Brontë sisters will lead her towards the rumored family fate. During her study, copies of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey appear at her doorstep. These mysterious copies were rumored to have been destroyed during the fire that took Samantha’s father’s life, but why are they showing up once again?
3. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Set in the Caribbean, Wide Sargasso Sea travels across the ocean and back in time. It follows the story of a woman locked in an attic, and how she ended up there. Rhys’s writing style resembles Virgina Woolf’s in that she reveals the inner thoughts of her characters through a stream of consciousness. Beginning from Antoinette Cosway’s point of view, the Creole heiress who is forced to marry the Englishman and leave the only place she’s familiar with, the story then shifts to Rochester’s perspective, offering insights into their lustful voyage. For fans of Jane Eyre, this fantastic prequel is a must-read.
4. Jane Steele: A Confession by Lyndsay Faye
Via Penguin Random House
This is the reimagined telling of Jane as an orphan who has given in to her passionate side, becoming a serial killer. Literally named Jane Steele, our heroine becomes a hedonist determined to take revenge on those who’ve mistreated her. Growing up in a troubled family and forced to attend a grim school, she murders her tormentors and leaves their corpses behind as she flees for a new haven. According to Cosmopolitan, this adaptation of Jane Eyre “gets a dose of Dexter. In a story that’s equal parts romance, thriller, and satire, the Brontë heroine is made over into a fighter with a shadowy past.”
5. Reader, I Married Him edited by Tracy Chevalier
If you recall Brontë’s compelling style of first-person narration, you must remember the chapter that began with “Reader, I married him.” This line became the title of this compilation of stories written by some of the finest feminine authors. Writers include Tracy Chevalier, Francine Prose, Elizabeth McCracken, Emma Donoghue, Tessa Hadley, Audrey Niffenegger, and more.
6. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
In an alternative 1985, the Crimean War has dragged on beyond 130 years, and Wales has started to self-govern. Amongst chaotic times, literature is England’s cultural heritage most prone to external threats. When the Third Most Wanted criminal, Acheron Hades, starts to steal characters from literary works and demanding ransom, Detective Thursday Next steps in. He’s on the case when Jane Eyre is kidnapped from her own novel. If you are a fan of speculative fiction, then this one should be added to your shopping cart now.
7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
When a nameless woman marries a bewitching widower, she moves to the Cornish coast and starts to live her life as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter. The former wife, Rebecca, died of a mysterious cause. Despite her passing, Mrs Danvers, the housekeeper, refuses to accept the second wife’s role in the family, and displays contempt that torments her. If you enjoyed the book, you must also watch Alfred Hitchcock’s film adaptation starring Joan Fontaine and the brooding Laurence Olivier.
Feature image courtesy of http://bit.ly/2wnDRUK