Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre ed. Tracy Chevalier
One of the most beloved, certainly most read, characters from nineteenth century literature is Jane Eyre. Plucky, often headstrong, Jane has caught the imagination of many readers throughout the years and her deceptively simple, yet telling line “Reader, I Married Him” that ends the eponymous novel may be one of the most quoted lines and now provides a prompt for twenty-one modern day authors, one admittedly never having read Jane Eyre. Patricia Park brings the feisty heroine into modern day Harlem in “The China from Buenos Aries” as a young woman tries to find her place in New York City. In “The Mash-Up” Linda Grant depicts an unorthodoxed wedding in which the bridge and groom try to tie the knot while accommodating each family’s differences, a union that is doomed from the beginning. Some of the stories retell the traditional tale from another’s point of view, even Rochester’s, many are faithful retellings while other explore the famous sentence with modern sensabilities. This is one of the better compilation homages to traditional literature by modern authors to come along in a while.