Book Review – Mrs. Rochester’s Ghost by Lindsay Marcott

Expected publication date, 1st August 2021

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Mrs. Rochester’s Ghost is a retelling of the classic gothic romantic drama, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (a personal favourite of mine). The story follows Jane, a suddenly unemployed American TV writer who finds gainful employment as a private tutor for the daughter of the infamous entrepreneur and possible wife-murderer, Evander Rochester.

But when Jane is plagued by her own over-active imagination, and the shrieking in the darkness might well be the ghost of mentally ill catwalk model, Beatrice McAdams-Rochester, will her attraction to the mysterious, dark-eyed and quick-tempered Evan be enough to save either of them from his past?

The story is told, primarily, by Jane as she finds her way around the Thorn Bluffs estate, meets the staff and her stroppy teenage charge Sophia, and half-sees shapes and lights that might be the dead, the missing, or her own migraines. All the while, her interest in Evander grows. In alternate chapters, the story is taken over by Beatrice, in her madness and in flashback, talking through her last day at the estate.

As I started reading this book, I couldn’t help my mind from wandering to the film versions of Rebecca (1940) and Wuthering Heights (1939), both starring the incomparable and stunningly beautiful, Laurence Olivier. Although I could see the main characters in my mind’s eye, the setting was jarringly American. To be clear, Mrs. Rochester’s Ghost is set in America, and I have no issue with American spellings, etc. However, like Rebecca and Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre strikes me as such an English story, I found myself floundering early on.

That said, most of the writing is very strong. There are some excellent descriptions of the weather and the scenery is very vivid. There were a couple of instances where Beatrice, in flashback, was not allowed a razor – due to her schizoaffective disorders and suicidal tendencies – and she alluded to the hair on her legs, armpits and vagina.

Not to be a pedant, but the vagina isn’t hairy. It’s on the inside. She might have a hairy vulva, or ‘front bottom’ as it’s known in medical circles, but if she has a hairy vagina, she should go back to her doctor.

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